Dedicated to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Otosclerosis
Otosclerosis is an inherited condition affecting approximately 10% of the population and is caused by the accumulation of abnormal bone growth on the smallest of the three hearing bones-the tiny stirrup-shaped bone called the stapes. The stapes is the third hearing bone, and its motion on the footplate of the inner ear moves the fluid within the inner ear and allows us to hear. The over-growth of bone associated with otosclerosis may cause the stapes bone to become fixed, thus restricting its motion and resulting in hearing loss. This process may affect one or both ears. Symptoms of otosclerosis usually begin in the late teens or early twenties, though it may present later in life. Symptoms usually develop gradually. When otosclerosis causes the stapes bone to be fixed, a “conductive” type of hearing loss-due to poor motion of the hearing bones-occurs. This is a correctable type of hearing loss. Otosclerosis can also cause a “nerve” type of hearing loss due to the release of chemicals into the inner ear fluids. This may increase ringing in the ear known as tinnitus. A combination of these two types of hearing loss is possible, as well. The specific type of hearing loss will dictate management options and can be determined by detailed hearing tests.