Charles Limb, MD

InstitutionUniversity of California San Francisco
Address2233 Post Street
San Francisco CA 94115
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    Dr. Charles Limb is the Francis A. Sooy Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and the Chief of the Division of Otology, Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery at University of California, San Francisco. He is the Director of the Douglas Grant Cochlear Implant Center at UCSF and he is the Medical Director of Cochlear Implantation at UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital, Oakland. He also holds a joint appointment in the Department of Neurosurgery.

    Dr. Limb received his undergraduate degree at Harvard University and his medical training at Yale University School of Medicine, followed by surgical residency and fellowship in Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery at Johns Hopkins Hospital. He completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at the Center for Hearing Sciences at Johns Hopkins with Dr. David Ryugo studying the development of the auditory brainstem, and a second postdoctoral fellowship at the National Institutes of Health studying neural mechanisms of musical improvisation and perception using functional neuroimaging methods. He was at Johns Hopkins Hospital from 1996 to 2015, where he was Associate Professor of Otolaryngology – Head and Neck Surgery and a Faculty Member at the Peabody Conservatory of Music and School of Education at Johns Hopkins University. He left in 2015 to join the UCSF Department of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery.

    Dr. Limb’s expertise covers the full scope of otology and neurotology, with a focus on the treatment of hearing loss and auditory disorders. He specializes in all surgery of the temporal bone, with particular expertise in acoustic neuroma surgery, cochlear implant surgery, implantable hearing aids, stapes surgery, cholesteatoma surgery, and cancers of the ear. His current areas of research focus on the study of the neural basis of musical creativity as well as the study of music perception in deaf individuals with cochlear implants. He is the past Editor-in-Chief of Trends in Amplification (now Trends in Hearing), the only journal explicitly focused on auditory amplification devices and hearing aids, and an Editorial Board member of the journals Otology and Neurotology and Music and Medicine. His work has received international attention and has been featured by National Public Radio, TED, National Geographic, the New York Times, PBS, CNN, Scientific American, the British Broadcasting Company, the Smithsonian Institute, the Library of Congress, the Sundance Film Festival, Canadian Broadcasting Company, Baltimore Symphony Orchestra and the American Museum of Natural History.

    Otology, Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery

    Treatment of otologic conditions including hearing loss, implantable hearing devices, acoustic neuromas, and neoplastic disease of the temporal bone and skull base, acoustic neuroma

    Professional Interests:
    Cochlear implantation, bone anchored hearing devices, music perception, functional brain imaging

    Education and Training:
    • Undergraduate: Harvard University, Cambridge, MA
    • Medical School: Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
    • Internship: Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD – General Surgery
    • Residency: Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD – Otolaryngology – Head & Neck Surgery
    • Fellowship: Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, MD – Neurotology and Skull Base Surgery

    Awards and Honors:
    • 2004 Johns Hopkins Hospital – Resident Teaching Award
    • 2007 Baltimore Magazine – “Top Doctors in Baltimore”, Baltimore, MD
    • 2011 American Embassy in Baghdad – U.S. flag flown over American Embassy in Baghdad in honor of Dr. Charles Limb in recognition of patient care efforts

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    Publications listed below are automatically derived from MEDLINE/PubMed and other sources, which might result in incorrect or missing publications. Researchers can login to make corrections and additions, or contact us for help.
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    1. Cheever T, Taylor A, Finkelstein R, Edwards E, Thomas L, Bradt J, Holochwost SJ, Johnson JK, Limb C, Patel AD, Tottenham N, Iyengar S, Rutter D, Fleming R, Collins FS. NIH/Kennedy Center Workshop on Music and the Brain: Finding Harmony. Neuron. 2018 Mar 21; 97(6):1214-1218. PMID: 29566791.
      View in: PubMed
    2. Deroche MLD, Limb C, Chatterjee M, Gracco VL. Similar abilities of musicians and non-musicians to segregate voices by fundamental frequency. J Acoust Soc Am. 2017 Oct; 142(4):1739. PMID: 29092612.
      View in: PubMed
    3. Jiam NT, Caldwell MT, Limb C. What Does Music Sound Like for a Cochlear Implant User? Otol Neurotol. 2017 Sep; 38(8):e240-e247. PMID: 28806333.
      View in: PubMed
    4. Caldwell MT, Jiam NT, Limb C. Assessment and improvement of sound quality in cochlear implant users. Laryngoscope Investig Otolaryngol. 2017 Jun; 2(3):119-124. PMID: 28894831.
      View in: PubMed
    5. Dewyer NA, Jiradejvong P, Henderson Sabes J, Limb C. Automated smartphone audiometry: Validation of a word recognition test app. Laryngoscope. 2018 Mar; 128(3):707-712. PMID: 28543040.
      View in: PubMed
    6. Jiam NT, Limb C. The impact of round window vs cochleostomy surgical approaches on interscalar excursions in the cochlea: Preliminary results from a flat-panel computed tomography study. World J Otorhinolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2016 Sep; 2(3):142-147. PMID: 29204559.
      View in: PubMed
    7. Jiam NT, Pearl MS, Carver C, Limb C. Flat-Panel CT Imaging for Individualized Pitch Mapping in Cochlear Implant Users. Otol Neurotol. 2016 07; 37(6):672-9. PMID: 27273394.
      View in: PubMed
    8. He A, Deroche ML, Doong J, Jiradejvong P, Limb C. Mandarin Tone Identification in Cochlear Implant Users Using Exaggerated Pitch Contours. Otol Neurotol. 2016 Apr; 37(4):324-31. PMID: 26890043.
      View in: PubMed
    9. Deroche ML, Kulkarni AM, Christensen JA, Limb C, Chatterjee M. Deficits in the Sensitivity to Pitch Sweeps by School-Aged Children Wearing Cochlear Implants. Front Neurosci. 2016; 10:73. PMID: 26973451; PMCID: PMC4776214.
    10. Caldwell MT, Jiradejvong P, Limb C. Impaired Perception of Sensory Consonance and Dissonance in Cochlear Implant Users. Otol Neurotol. 2016 Mar; 37(3):229-34. PMID: 26825669.
      View in: PubMed
    11. Roy AT, Penninger RT, Pearl MS, Wuerfel W, Jiradejvong P, Carver C, Buechner A, Limb C. Deeper Cochlear Implant Electrode Insertion Angle Improves Detection of Musical Sound Quality Deterioration Related to Bass Frequency Removal. Otol Neurotol. 2016 Feb; 37(2):146-51. PMID: 26669557.
      View in: PubMed
    12. McPherson MJ, Barrett FS, Lopez-Gonzalez M, Jiradejvong P, Limb C. Emotional Intent Modulates The Neural Substrates Of Creativity: An fMRI Study of Emotionally Targeted Improvisation in Jazz Musicians. Sci Rep. 2016 Jan 04; 6:18460. PMID: 26725925; PMCID: PMC4698722.
    13. Caldwell M, Rankin SK, Jiradejvong P, Carver C, Limb C. Cochlear implant users rely on tempo rather than on pitch information during perception of musical emotion. Cochlear Implants Int. 2015 Sep; 16 Suppl 3:S114-20. PMID: 26561882.
      View in: PubMed
    14. Roy AT, Carver C, Jiradejvong P, Limb C. Musical Sound Quality in Cochlear Implant Users: A Comparison in Bass Frequency Perception Between Fine Structure Processing and High-Definition Continuous Interleaved Sampling Strategies. Ear Hear. 2015 Sep-Oct; 36(5):582-90. PMID: 25906173.
      View in: PubMed
    15. Munjal T, Roy AT, Carver C, Jiradejvong P, Limb C. Use of the Phantom Electrode strategy to improve bass frequency perception for music listening in cochlear implant users. Cochlear Implants Int. 2015 Sep; 16 Suppl 3:S121-8. PMID: 26561883.
      View in: PubMed
    16. Roy AT, Vigeant M, Munjal T, Carver C, Jiradejvong P, Limb C. Reverberation negatively impacts musical sound quality for cochlear implant users. Cochlear Implants Int. 2015 Sep; 16 Suppl 3:S105-13. PMID: 26561881.
      View in: PubMed
    17. Chatterjee M, Zion DJ, Deroche ML, Burianek BA, Limb C, Goren AP, Kulkarni AM, Christensen JA. Voice emotion recognition by cochlear-implanted children and their normally-hearing peers. Hear Res. 2015 Apr; 322:151-62. PMID: 25448167; PMCID: PMC4615700.
    18. Deroche ML, Lu HP, Limb C, Lin YS, Chatterjee M. Deficits in the pitch sensitivity of cochlear-implanted children speaking English or Mandarin. Front Neurosci. 2014; 8:282. PMID: 25249932; PMCID: PMC4158799.
    19. Rankin SK, Limb C. Auditory-motor synchronization with temporally fluctuating sequences is dependent on fractal structure but not musical expertise. Front Psychol. 2014; 5:970. PMID: 25232347; PMCID: PMC4153026.
    20. Deroche ML, Culling JF, Chatterjee M, Limb C. Roles of the target and masker fundamental frequencies in voice segregation. J Acoust Soc Am. 2014 Sep; 136(3):1225. PMID: 25190396; PMCID: PMC4165228.
    21. McPherson MJ, Lopez-Gonzalez M, Rankin SK, Limb C. The role of emotion in musical improvisation: an analysis of structural features. PLoS One. 2014; 9(8):e105144. PMID: 25144200; PMCID: PMC4140734.
    22. Roy AT, Scattergood-Keepper L, Carver C, Jiradejvong P, Butler C, Limb C. Evaluation of a Test Battery to Assess Perception of Music in Children With Cochlear Implants. JAMA Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2014 Jun; 140(6):540-7. PMID: 24722833.
      View in: PubMed
    23. Deroche ML, Culling JF, Chatterjee M, Limb C. Speech recognition against harmonic and inharmonic complexes: spectral dips and periodicity. J Acoust Soc Am. 2014 May; 135(5):2873-84. PMID: 24815268; PMCID: PMC4032410.
    24. Penninger RT, Kludt E, Limb C, Leman M, Dhooge I, Buechner A. Perception of polyphony with cochlear implants for 2 and 3 simultaneous pitches. Otol Neurotol. 2014 Mar; 35(3):431-6. PMID: 24518404.
      View in: PubMed
    25. Donnay GF, Rankin SK, Lopez-Gonzalez M, Jiradejvong P, Limb C. Neural substrates of interactive musical improvisation: an FMRI study of 'trading fours' in jazz. PLoS One. 2014; 9(2):e88665. PMID: 24586366; PMCID: PMC3929604.
    26. Paulson S, Bharucha J, Iyer V, Limb C, Tomaino C. Music and the mind: the magical power of sound. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2013 Nov; 1303:63-79. PMID: 24236865.
      View in: PubMed
    27. Penninger RT, Limb C, Vermeire K, Leman M, Dhooge I. Experimental assessment of polyphonic tones with cochlear implants. Otol Neurotol. 2013 Sep; 34(7):1267-71. PMID: 23921943.
      View in: PubMed
    28. McPherson M, Limb C. Difficulties in the neuroscience of creativity: jazz improvisation and the scientific method. Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2013 Nov; 1303:80-3. PMID: 23869697.
      View in: PubMed
    29. Eliades SJ, Limb C. The role of mastoidectomy in outcomes following tympanic membrane repair: a review. Laryngoscope. 2013 Jul; 123(7):1787-802. PMID: 23686849.
      View in: PubMed
    30. Limb C, Roy AT. Technological, biological, and acoustical constraints to music perception in cochlear implant users. Hear Res. 2014 Feb; 308:13-26. PMID: 23665130.
      View in: PubMed
    31. Penninger RT, Chien WW, Jiradejvong P, Boeke E, Carver CL, Limb C. Perception of pure tones and iterated rippled noise for normal hearing and cochlear implant users. Trends Amplif. 2013 Mar; 17(1):45-53. PMID: 23539260; PMCID: PMC4040863.
    32. Roy AT, Jiradejvong P, Carver C, Limb C. Musical sound quality impairments in cochlear implant (CI) users as a function of limited high-frequency perception. Trends Amplif. 2012 Dec; 16(4):191-200. PMID: 23172009; PMCID: PMC4040823.
    33. Ward BK, Agrawal Y, Nguyen E, Della Santina CC, Limb C, Francis HW, Minor LB, Carey JP. Hearing outcomes after surgical plugging of the superior semicircular canal by a middle cranial fossa approach. Otol Neurotol. 2012 Oct; 33(8):1386-91. PMID: 22935810; PMCID: PMC3442142.
    34. Roy AT, Jiradejvong P, Carver C, Limb C. Assessment of sound quality perception in cochlear implant users during music listening. Otol Neurotol. 2012 Apr; 33(3):319-27. PMID: 22314920.
      View in: PubMed
    35. Limb C. When inner ear stem cell therapy becomes a reality. Trends Amplif. 2012 Mar; 16(1):3. PMID: 22593203; PMCID: PMC4040845.
    36. López-González M, Limb C. Musical creativity and the brain. Cerebrum. 2012 Jan; 2012:2. PMID: 23447788; PMCID: PMC3574774.
    37. Limb C, Rubinstein JT. Current research on music perception in cochlear implant users. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2012 Feb; 45(1):129-40. PMID: 22115686.
      View in: PubMed
    38. Guss ZD, Batra S, Limb C, Li G, Sughrue ME, Redmond K, Rigamonti D, Parsa AT, Chang S, Kleinberg L, Lim M. Radiosurgery of glomus jugulare tumors: a meta-analysis. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys. 2011 Nov 15; 81(4):e497-502. PMID: 21703782; PMCID: PMC4086637.
    39. Heng J, Cantarero G, Elhilali M, Limb C. Impaired perception of temporal fine structure and musical timbre in cochlear implant users. Hear Res. 2011 Oct; 280(1-2):192-200. PMID: 21664263; PMCID: PMC3343076.
    40. Limb C. Inner sparks. Interview by Alicia Anstead. Sci Am. 2011 May; 304(5):84-7. PMID: 21595410.
      View in: PubMed
    41. Limb C. The need for evidence in an anecdotal world. Trends Amplif. 2011 Mar-Jun; 15(1):3-4. PMID: 22194313; PMCID: PMC4040832.
    42. O'Neil JN, Connelly CJ, Limb C, Ryugo DK. Synaptic morphology and the influence of auditory experience. Hear Res. 2011 Sep; 279(1-2):118-30. PMID: 21310226; PMCID: PMC3116016.
    43. Carpenter RM, Limb C, Francis HW, Gottschalk B, Niparko JK. Programmatic challenges in obtaining and confirming the pneumococcal vaccination status of cochlear implant recipients. Otol Neurotol. 2010 Oct; 31(8):1334-6. PMID: 20818284.
      View in: PubMed
    44. Chen I, Limb C, Ryugo DK. The effect of cochlear-implant-mediated electrical stimulation on spiral ganglion cells in congenitally deaf white cats. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2010 Dec; 11(4):587-603. PMID: 20821032; PMCID: PMC2975880.
    45. Kim I, Yang E, Donnelly PJ, Limb C. Preservation of rhythmic clocking in cochlear implant users: a study of isochronous versus anisochronous beat detection. Trends Amplif. 2010 Sep; 14(3):164-9. PMID: 21109551; PMCID: PMC4111468.
    46. Inverso Y, Limb C. Cochlear implant-mediated perception of nonlinguistic sounds. Ear Hear. 2010 Aug; 31(4):505-14. PMID: 20588119.
      View in: PubMed
    47. Agrawal Y, Clark JH, Limb C, Niparko JK, Francis HW. Predictors of vestibular schwannoma growth and clinical implications. Otol Neurotol. 2010 Jul; 31(5):807-12. PMID: 20502379.
      View in: PubMed
    48. Francis HW, Masood H, Chaudhry KN, Laeeq K, Carey JP, Della Santina CC, Limb C, Niparko JK, Bhatti NI. Objective assessment of mastoidectomy skills in the operating room. Otol Neurotol. 2010 Jul; 31(5):759-65. PMID: 20517169.
      View in: PubMed
    49. O'Neil JN, Limb C, Baker CA, Ryugo DK. Bilateral effects of unilateral cochlear implantation in congenitally deaf cats. J Comp Neurol. 2010 Jun 15; 518(12):2382-404. PMID: 20437534; PMCID: PMC3936022.
    50. Limb C. Hearing for the masses. Trends Amplif. 2010 Jun; 14(2):63. PMID: 20724353; PMCID: PMC4111355.
    51. Laeeq K, Bhatti NI, Carey JP, Della Santina CC, Limb C, Niparko JK, Minor LB, Francis HW. Pilot testing of an assessment tool for competency in mastoidectomy. Laryngoscope. 2009 Dec; 119(12):2402-10. PMID: 19885831.
      View in: PubMed
    52. Donnelly PJ, Guo BZ, Limb C. Perceptual fusion of polyphonic pitch in cochlear implant users. J Acoust Soc Am. 2009 Nov; 126(5):EL128-33. PMID: 19894787.
      View in: PubMed
    53. Limb C. Moving at the speed of sound: scientific innovation in auditory research. Trends Amplif. 2009 Sep; 13(3):147-8. PMID: 19737798; PMCID: PMC4111440.
    54. Limb C, Molloy AT, Jiradejvong P, Braun AR. Auditory cortical activity during cochlear implant-mediated perception of spoken language, melody, and rhythm. J Assoc Res Otolaryngol. 2010 Mar; 11(1):133-43. PMID: 19662456; PMCID: PMC2820212.
    55. Limb C. From the editor. Trends Amplif. 2009 Jun; 13(2):75. PMID: 25425872; PMCID: PMC4111524.
    56. Limb C. From the editor. Trends Amplif. 2009 Mar; 13(1):3. PMID: 25425871; PMCID: PMC4111371.
    57. Nahas Z, Tatlipinar A, Limb C, Francis HW. Spontaneous meningoencephalocele of the temporal bone: clinical spectrum and presentation. Arch Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2008 May; 134(5):509-18. PMID: 18490573.
      View in: PubMed
    58. Melvin TA, Limb C. Overview of facial paralysis: current concepts. Facial Plast Surg. 2008 May; 24(2):155-63. PMID: 18470826.
      View in: PubMed
    59. Limb C, Braun AR. Neural substrates of spontaneous musical performance: an FMRI study of jazz improvisation. PLoS One. 2008 Feb 27; 3(2):e1679. PMID: 18301756; PMCID: PMC2244806.
    60. Limb C, Carey JP, Srireddy S, Minor LB. Auditory function in patients with surgically treated superior semicircular canal dehiscence. Otol Neurotol. 2006 Oct; 27(7):969-80. PMID: 17006348.
      View in: PubMed
    61. Limb C. Cochlear implant-mediated perception of music. Curr Opin Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2006 Oct; 14(5):337-40. PMID: 16974148.
      View in: PubMed
    62. Limb C, Kemeny S, Ortigoza EB, Rouhani S, Braun AR. Left hemispheric lateralization of brain activity during passive rhythm perception in musicians. Anat Rec A Discov Mol Cell Evol Biol. 2006 Apr; 288(4):382-9. PMID: 16550585.
      View in: PubMed
    63. Limb C. Structural and functional neural correlates of music perception. Anat Rec A Discov Mol Cell Evol Biol. 2006 Apr; 288(4):435-46. PMID: 16550543.
      View in: PubMed
    64. Limb C, Long DM, Niparko JK. Acoustic neuromas after failed radiation therapy: challenges of surgical salvage. Laryngoscope. 2005 Jan; 115(1):93-8. PMID: 15630374.
      View in: PubMed
    65. Pai SI, Limb C, Nicol T, Williams MF. Leiomyosarcoma of the auricle. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2003 Mar; 128(3):442-4. PMID: 12646855.
      View in: PubMed
    66. Limb C, Lustig LR. Hearing loss and the invention of the phonograph: the story of Thomas Alva Edison. Otol Neurotol. 2002 Jan; 23(1):96-101. PMID: 11773855.
      View in: PubMed
    67. Limb C, Mabrie DC, Carey JP, Minor LB. Hemangioma of the external auditory canal. Otolaryngol Head Neck Surg. 2002 Jan; 126(1):74-5. PMID: 11821770.
      View in: PubMed
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