Michelle Badash, MS
Otosclerosis is the growth of abnormal new bone in the inner ear. This growth prevents proper functioning of ear structures. Hearing loss can occur when the new bone surrounds the stapes and other small bones needed for hearing. This is a common cause of hearing loss.
The cause of otosclerosis is still unknown, but genetics appears to play a role.
Otosclerosis is more common in Caucasians, Asians, females, and in people in their teens through late 40s. Other factors that may increase chance of otosclerosis include:
Gradual hearing loss is the main symptom of otosclerosis. Hearing loss may be of 2 types:
Early in the disease, you may first notice trouble hearing low-pitched sounds or whispers. Other symptoms may include:
The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your ears may be tested. This can be done with a hearing test.
Images may be taken of your ear. This can be done with:
Treatments may include:
Hearing aids may be effective for conductive and sensorineural hearing loss.
In many cases, a procedure called a stapedectomy may improve hearing. The purpose of this operation is to replace the diseased bone with an artificial device that can transmit sound waves to the inner ear. Stapedectomy is effective and frequently returns hearing to a near normal level.
Fluoride tablets are sometimes prescribed to stabilize the condition and prevent further sensorineural hearing loss. However, this treatment remains controversial and unproven.
Prevention methods include:
American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
American Speech-Language-Hearing Association
Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery
The College of Family Physicians of Canada
Otosclerosis. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at:
http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T113667/Otosclerosis. Updated April 22, 2014. Accessed September 26, 2016.
Otosclerosis. Massachusetts Eye and Ear website. Available at:
http://www.masseyeandear.org/for-patients/patient-guide/patient-education/diseases-and-conditions/otosclerosis. Accessed August 4, 2015.
Otosclerosis. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) website. Available at:
http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/otosclerosis.aspx. Updated September 2013. Accessed August 4, 2015.
What you should know about otosclerosis. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at:
http://www.entnet.org/?q=node/1316. Accessed August 4, 2015.
Last reviewed September 2016 by Michael Woods, MD
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