Biography & Education

It is my privilege to treat each person who chooses my care with respect and dignity as they come to understand the nature of their medical condition and choose a treatment option.
  • Neuro-Otology
  • Otology
Education Background
Medical School: University of Washington School of Medicine
Residency: Otolaryngology, Baylor College of Medicine
Fellowship: Neurotology, Johns Hopkins University

Distinguished Service Award, American Academy of Otolaryngology- Head and Neck Surgery 2009 America's Best Doctors

  • English
Professional Associations
American Academy of Otolaryngology Head & Neck Surgery American College of Surgeons American Neurotology Society American Otological Society
Personal Interests
Hiking, camping, water and snow skiing, golf, youth soccer, church activites and boy scout volunteering

Care Locations

550 17th Avenue
Suite 540 for Neuro-Otology or Suite 520 for Audiology
Seattle, WA 98122
Fax 206-320-8149
13020 Meridian Ave. S.
Everett, WA 98208
Accepting New Patients
Accepting Children
Accepting Medicare



Cochlear Implant Clinical Trials

Baha Clinical Trials

Program efficiency


Acoustic Neuromas & How We Treat Them

July 17, 2013
Acoustic Neuromas, also known as vestibular schwannoma, is a slow growing  benign tumor on the balance nerve connecting the inner ear to the brain. This is an uncommon condition, found in roughly 1 in 100,000 people. The most common symptoms include hearing loss, tinnitus (ringing in your ear), and vertigo (a feeling of imbalance). Because these symptoms are present with many conditions, it is important to see your doctor if they persist more than a few weeks. Your healthcare provider will make a referral to an ENT surgeon or to a Neurotologist if they feel you need further evaluation. Neurotology is a sub-specialty of  otolaryngology (ears, nose, and throat) specializing in the neurological conditions of the ears and brainstem (also referred to as skull base surgery. if an acoustic neuroma is suspected). The neurotologist may conduct a clinical evaluation, hearing and balance tests and imaging studies, such as MRI, to make the diagnosis.  Once diagnosed, there are...

Hearing loss from driving a convertible: reality or myth?

April 29, 2011
 Leave it to the Brits to address such a common question with scientific rigor and analysis! Philip Michael, Niel Opie and Michael Smith, from Worcestershire Royal Hospital in the UK, published a short but information-packed article in the August edition of the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (2010;143:219-22). They looked at seven different types of convertible cars (Audi A4, Porsche 911, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Morgan Roadster, Bentley Continental GT, Toyota MR2, and a Mazda MX5) driving at 50, 60 and 70 mph with windows raised and down. They placed a noise sensor on the traffic side of the car (on the right in the UK- they drive on the wrong side of the road) and took 3 separate measurements in each condition (scientific method at work). All tests were done on similar roadways and in non-rush hour traffic to minimize data contamination. What did they find?

The Odd Syndrome of Bilateral 8th Nerve Tumors

August 25, 2010
Bilateral 8th cranial nerve tumors, also known as vestibular schwannomas or acoustic neuromas (see figure), are pathognomonic of a fascinating syndrome called central neurofibromatosis or neurofibromatosis type 2 (NF-2). NF-2 is a rare, autosomal-dominant disease with an incidence of 1 in 30,000 live births. The mechanism by which the genetic changes underlying NF-2 produce these tumors of a cranial nerve remains a mystery. Interestingly, two other associations are also sufficient to make a diagnosis of NF-2. These are unilateral VS at early age (< 30 years) plus two other specific lesions (meningioma, schwannoma other than VS, glioma or pre-senile cataract), and unilateral VS at early age with an affected first-degree parent, sibling or child. Patients with NF-2 usually present between the ages of 18 and 24 years with tinnitus, hearing loss and balance difficulties. Symptoms of unilateral tinnitus, asymmetric hearing loss or unresolving vertigo or imbalance warrant a gadolinium-enhanced MRI ...


Board Certifications
  • Neuro-Otology
Clinical Interests
  • CyberKnife
  • Gamma Knife
  • The Ben and Catherine Ivy Center for Advanced Brain Tumor Treatment


Patient Ratings and Comments
About Our Survey

The Patient Rating score is based on responses given during the CAHPS Patient Experience Survey. Responses are measured on a 10-point scale, with 10 being the best score. These scores are then translated to a 5-point scale in order to display results in a 5-star rating. Comments are also gathered from the same survey and displayed in their entirety with the exception of any language that may be considered slander, libel or contain private health information, which will be removed prior to publishing the comments.

4.4 out of 5 (63 Ratings, 13 Comments)


We were aware that significant surgical emergencies put this provider far behind in his schedule & he had other patients who were... after me. We know that extraordinary efforts were made to schedule us on an expedited basis.
Swedish Patient

very comfortable to talk to
Swedish Patient

I'm still somewhat confused about the difference in opinion between the radiologist's reading of my MRI on [...] and [...], and Dr. Backous'. I need to make a decision about whether to have [...] surgery and I'm having a hard time making the choice because of this discrepancy. But it's clear it's my choice.
Swedish Patient

he acted like it was a waist of time him seeing me
Swedish Patient

[...] having a fast talking, rushed Provider and team, was very problematic and caused me to be so overwhelmed. I was trying to maintain emotionally from the ear pain caused by the procedure, only to have to concentrate so very hard on the rapid fire speech, and the entourage of assistants coming and going with new information and instruction. [...] This visit left me feeling churned up both emotionally and physically, and then spit out. [...]
Swedish Patient

After an hour's wait, spent 5-less than 10 minutes with me. Whole team seemed rushed. I know Backous is a top surgeon in his field, so have every confidence in him for the procedure.
Swedish Patient

I liked the opportunity to talk with [...] Dr. Backous. The office visit was efficient and made for quality time.
Swedish Patient

I find Dr. Backous to be personable and caring. He took his time with me and I didn't feel rushed into making a decision about neurosurgery.
Swedish Patient

Was delayed another 1/2 hour before I saw the doctor. Was seen by the fellow first, which is okay, but they had to search to find the doctor.
Swedish Patient

Dr. Backous hardly looked at me, came in after his "fellow" examined me and said, "Your symptoms are not caused by the schwannoma. Tough it out and come back in six months. Unless you start falling down or lose control or your bladder - then call right away." When I tried to ask questions about my concerns, he wasn't interested. He was done.
Swedish Patient

I saw another provider prior to seeing Dr. Backous. Dr. Backous spent little time with me. Also, surgery was recommended based on hearing test only as CT scans were not available at the time.
Swedish Patient

Glad i was recommended & glad of where i am now
Swedish Patient

dr Backus is great I would recommend him to anybody and I plan on continuing seeing him for years to come
Swedish Patient