As a fourth generation Shea to pursue a career as an ear, nose, and throat doctor, Dr. Paul Shea grew up in a culture of medicine and worked alongside his father from a young age. Not only has he continued a remarkable legacy, but Dr. Paul Shea has made significant contributions to his field through research, teaching, and community involvement.
Since he was a young boy, Dr. Paul Shea watched his father operate on the ears of patients suffering from hearing loss, chronic infections, and many other debilitating conditions. It is not an exaggeration to say he literally grew up in an operating room. Twice in grade school he took his entire class on field trips to the Shea clinic. As a teenager, Dr. Paul Shea worked at Applied Research Corporation, a company started by his father that designed specialized drills for use in ear surgery. As an undergraduate at Vanderbilt University, Paul studied pre-med courses as well as English literature. Following this, Dr. Paul Shea did research for Charles Norris, Ph.D. at Tulane University in New Orleans, where he studied the effect of streptomycin on hair cells, the specialized nerve endings in the inner ear. This work proved pivotal as it provided the basis for the intratympanic perfusion procedure that was developed at the Shea clinic in the 1990’s and is now widely used in the treatment of Meniere’s disease and other disorders of the inner ear.
Dr. Paul Shea graduated from medical school at Tulane University in 1995 and returned to Memphis where he completed a six-year residency at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center consisting of two years of general surgery followed by four years of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery. He then completed a fellowship in Neurotology at the Carolina Ear Research Institute in Raleigh, North Carolina under John T. McElveen, M.D. Paul earned his board certification in Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery in 2002 and was recertified in Otology in 2011. Paul joined the Shea Ear Clinic in 2002 and has a practice in Otology and Neurotology with a special interest in chronic otitis media, otosclerosis, Meniere’s disease, intratympanic perfusion, positional vertigo, cochlear implantation, and acoustic neuroma. He is an associate clinical professor at the University of Tennessee Department of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery, and is a member of the Memphis ENT Society, the Tennessee Medical Association, the American Neurotologic Society, and the Triological Society, for which he published his thesis last year, entitled “Hearing Results and Quality of Life After Streptomycin/Dexamethasone Perfusion for Meniere’s Disease”. He holds privileges at Methodist and Baptist Hospitals in Memphis. He is a former board member of the Memphis Oral School for the Deaf, where he helped lobby the Tennessee legislature to pass laws requiring mandatory universal hearing screening in newborns.
He is married to Jessica and has a stepdaughter named Elizabeth. He is an avid motorsports enthusiast and restores classic automobiles as a hobby.
At the American Neurotology Society Spring Meeting, Dr. Brian J. McKinnon’s team presented their latest ongoing research on the development of a novel cochlear implant thin film array electrode.
Throughout the course of his life, Dr. John Shea Jr. has made major historical breakthroughs and advancements in medicine. Recently, Shea donated 406 papers, including more than 300 published articles, to the Memphis Public Library’s Memphis Room..