Cause of Hearing Loss - Otosclerosis

Common, Gradual Cause of Hearing Loss

Doctor examining senior patient's ear
Otosclerosis. Vstock / Getty Images

Otosclerosis is a fairly common cause of conductive hearing loss.

What is Otosclerosis?

Otosclerosis is a hereditary condition in which the hearing loss occurs slowly, over time. Spongy bone tissue grows in the middle ear, leading to hearing loss when the bone tissue grows around the ossicles, or bones of the middle ear. This growth can immobilize the bone, interfering with the ear's ability to hear.

Symptoms of Otosclerosis

It is not immediately obvious that a person has otosclerosis, and it does not always cause hearing loss. The first symptom of a hearing loss induced by otosclerosis is often that the person has difficulty understanding others. There may also be noises in the ear, known as tinnitus. The hearing loss may start in the low frequencies before the high frequencies are lost, and then it may stay the same for a long time or worsen to the point that the person has a moderate hearing loss. In rare cases, a sensorineural (nerve) hearing loss may also develop, which makes the level of hearing loss higher.

Treatment for Otosclerosis

For a mild case, no treatment may be needed, or just hearing aids. For more severe cases, a surgery called stapedectomy may resolve the situation. In a stapedectomy, the "bad" stapes middle ear bone is taken out and replaced with a prosthesis.

Support for Otosclerosis

There is a discussion list for people with otosclerosis: Otoscerlosis2.

This Yahoo group has a public archive.

Books About Otosclerosis

Some books have been published about otosclerosis:

  • Otosclerosis
  • The Official Patient's Sourcebook on Otosclerosis

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