About

Our History

When John J. Shea, Sr., M.D. (1889-1952) began practicing otolaryngology in Memphis in 1926, he started a legacy of medical excellence and innovation that continues to this day. In those nearly 90 years, four generations of Shea Ear Clinic physicians have treated hundreds of thousands of patients, restoring hearing and treating difficult chronic conditions for many.

John J. Shea, Jr. M.D. took over his father’s practice in 1952 and began an unprecedented period of innovation which resulted in revolutionary advances in otology, including and most notably, the stapedectomy operation for otosclerosis, a leading cause of conductive deafness. The importance of the development of stapedectomy to the field of otology simply cannot be overstated. The operation is performed worldwide with very few changes to Dr. Shea’s procedure and firmly established Memphis as a hotbed of medical innovation. Dr. Shea performed over 25,000 stapedectomies during his career and the Shea Ear Clinic remains one of the preeminent centers in the world in performing this very difficult procedure. Dr. John Shea was also responsible for many other advances in otology, including middle ear prostheses, microscopes, drills and other surgical instruments, and intratympanic perfusion, a major advance in the treatment of inner ear disorders including Meniere’s disease.

Dr. John Emmett has been with the Shea Ear Clinic since 1976 and carries on the strong tradition of solid care and excellence in otology. He is Chief Medical Officer and Managing Partner. Dr. Greg Staffel joined the clinic in 1998 and specializes in general otolaryngology and facial plastic surgery. The family tradition continued with Dr. Paul Shea, who joined the clinic in 2002, specializing in otology and neurotology.