Rick F. Nelson

Rick F. Nelson, MD, PhD

Assistant Professor of Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery


Specialty: Otology & Neurotology

Rick Nelson, MD, PhD, joined the IU School of Medicine faculty in 2014. He is a surgeon-scientist specialized in neurotology, skull-based surgery, otology, and hearing loss in both adults and children. In addition, Dr. Nelson researches the mechanisms of hearing loss with the goal of developing new treatments for congenital and adult onset hearing loss.

Dr. Nelson was pursuing a PhD at the University of Iowa when his neurological research led him to an interest in the ear and hearing loss. He became fascinated with auditory neuroscience and the intricate anatomy and finesse of otologic surgery. He completed his neurotology surgical fellowships at the world-renown University of Iowa Hospitals.

Dr. Nelson currently serves as a principle investigator in the Auditory Neuroscience Research Lab, where his main interests are in hearing loss and how sensory cells in the cochlea degenerate. He also treats both adult and pediatric patients with skull base tumors, cholesteatoma, cochlear implantation, conductive hearing loss, and facial nerve disorders. Specifically he specialized in hearing preservation surgery for vestibular schwannomas and canal wall reconstructions for management of cholesteatomas. 

As the director of the department’s Temporal Bone Lab, he interacts with surgical residents in simulation learning of otologic anatomy. In 2016, Dr. Nelson received the department’s faculty teaching award. When he is not treating patients or researching hearing loss, Dr. Nelson enjoys spending time with his wife—a rheumatology physician—and children.



Otolaryngology & H/N Surgery
Fesler Hall 400 1130 W. Michigan Street
Indianapolis, IN 46202


Titles & Appointments

  • Assistant Professor of Neurological Surgery
  • Adjunct Faculty of Neurological Surgery