expert type icon EXPERT

Dr. Michael Joseph O'leary, M.D.

Ear-Nose and Throat Doctor (ENT)

Dr. Michael O’Leary is board-certified in Otolaryngology and Neurotology – a subspecialist in ear diseases, imbalance and skull base tumors. He is recognized internationally for developing minimally invasive techniques, such as endoscopic removal of pituitary tumors. As a Neurotologist, he treats all aspects of ear disease - from infections (“swimmers ears”) to blockage ("surfers' ears”) to tumors, such as acoustic neuromas and meningiomas. After his Navy career, he became a founding partner of Senta Clinic in San Diego - focused on providing the best in subspecialty care!

Dr. O'Leary is a Past President of the San Diego Academy of Otolaryngology and has been repeatedly selected as a "Top Doctor" by US News and World Reports. He has authored over 40 scientific publications with over 150 national and international presentations and has served as an expert reviewer for multiple scientific journals. He is a member of the Medical Honor Society (AOA), recipient of the Navy's Commendation and Meritorious Service Medals, expert Marksmanship in rifle and pistol and most importantly, an Eagle Scout.

“Dr. O” enjoys biking, golf and beach yoga.
39 years Experience
Dr. Michael Joseph O'leary, M.D.
  • San Diego, CA
  • Georgetown Univ Sch of Med, Washington DC
  • Accepting new patients

Is it safe to clean my ears with hydrogen peroxide?

This is a big mistake – the skin of the external ear canal is the thinnest, most delicate skin on the body and is actually thinner than the cornea of the eye. It is firmly and READ MORE
This is a big mistake – the skin of the external ear canal is the thinnest, most delicate skin on the body and is actually thinner than the cornea of the eye. It is firmly and directly attached to the bone to help increase the resonance of sounds and thus improve hearing, much like a room with a marble floor and glass ceiling. As such, it cannot take a joke and peroxide will convert a waxy ear into an infected one by breaking down the protective skin barrier. Despite this objective anatomical feature, your local drugstore is loaded with peroxide-like rinses that will harm your ear and increase the possibility of needing a doctor's help. Save yourself the expense and hassle by instead cleaning your ears regularly with the lather from your shampoo every time you wash your hair. This is a fairly gentle and simple technique that will pay dividends (literally!).

Is there any remedy for swimmer’s ears?

This is a very common experience and easily remedied in a safe manner – just use your hair blow dryer at a safe distance and within a few minutes, the small amount of water in READ MORE
This is a very common experience and easily remedied in a safe manner – just use your hair blow dryer at a safe distance and within a few minutes, the small amount of water in the ear canal will evaporate. It feels like the ocean and yet it is less than 1 mL. Most importantly, don’t use alcohol to “dehydrate” the water as it is particularly toxic to the delicate skin that lines your ear canal, much like the cornea of the eye. In addition, to help prevent swimmers ear, it is worthwhile to immediately rinse your ears with clear, drinkable water on exiting the pool, ocean, or Jacuzzi. This will dilute any bacteria from the swimming water, but should be done immediately upon exiting (before you grab your towel). If you get any funny looks, just tell them you’re thirsty and see what they look like.