Ear Expertise: Otosclerosis
What Is Otosclerosis?
Otosclerosis is a type of conductive hearing loss that causes the stiffening of the third bone of hearing. As you may know, you are able to hear because the hearing bones vibrate and send the sound to the hearing organ so you can interpret the sound. When the third bone stiffens, it is no longer able to vibrate, and thus the affected individual suffers a hearing loss. This type of hearing loss causes a slow, progressive decrease in hearing over many years. It accounts for approximately 1% of all conductive hearing loss.
How Is Otosclerosis Diagnosed?
Otosclerosis has to be diagnosed by an otologist or an otolaryngologist (ENT). Oftentimes, audiograms and tympanograms (graphs diagramming the patient’s hearing sensitivity and functionality of the middle ear, respectively) are great resources to diagnose the underlying problem.
Who Can Get Otosclerosis?
Around 60% of individuals with otosclerosis have a family history with the disorder. While otosclerosis can affect anyone, it affects white middle-aged females most often.
Does Otosclerosis Affect Both Ears?
70% of people affected by otosclerosis have problems with both ears, although one ear is typically a lot worse than the other. When performing a surgery to correct otosclerosis, the ear that has worse hearing is operated on first.
What Are the Treatment Options for Otosclerosis?
There is hope for patients with otosclerosis. Patients can receive a stapedectomy, a surgery that replaces the third bone of hearing with a titanium prosthesis. This hooks the third bone of hearing onto the second bone, causing it to vibrate properly when the second bone vibrates. The sound is now able to reach the inner ear.
Although hearing aids won’t cure otosclerosis, they can be used to treat the hearing loss associated with otosclerosis.
If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from otosclerosis or a hearing loss, give us a call at 602-277-4327(HEAR). We’d be happy to help!
Want more information about otosclerosis? Check out this video where our P.A. Linda talks about the disorder!