About Otosclerosis

Otosclerosis causes hearing loss due to restricted motion of the ear bones – ossciles, specifically the stapes bone – resulting in conductive hearing loss. Since the stapes bone is one of the smallest in the body, the smallest changes to its structure or position can damage the hearing.  Treatments include both nonsurgical options, as well as surgical.

Otosclerosis is more common in women.

What Causes Otosclerosis?

There is not a known cause for this disease, but it is thought to be genetic. The people who are most at risk are middle aged Caucasian women, especially when they are pregnant.  The bone growth around the stapes bone keeps it from moving freely, which is necessary for correct hearing.

What Are The Symptoms?

The most common symptom to watch for with otosclerosis is gradual worsening hearing loss. One of the first signs of this is the inability to distinguish whispers and low pitched sounds.  Some other symptoms to watch for are dizziness, vertigo, and ringing in your ears.

How Is Otosclerosis Treated?

  • A thorough exam from an otolaryngologist is necessary and critical to diagnose the disease and rule out other problems. A hearing test will usually show signs of conductive hearing loss in the lower frequency tones, a hallmark of otosclerosis.  Mild cases can be fixed with hearing aids.
  • A surgery called stapedotomy is performed in the more advanced cases of the disease.

What Is A Stapedotomy?

A stapedotomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove the innermost bone of the middle ear – the stapes – and replace it with a prosthesis made from titanium. The surgery has been proven to improve the movement of sound between inner and outer ear.  It is commonly performed to help with progressive hearing loss that has resulted from otosclerosis.

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