Otosclerosis is estimated to affect one in ten South Bay residents. It is a cause of conductive hearing loss or hearing loss caused by restricted motion of the ear bones—or ossicles—specifically, the stapes bone. The stapes is one of the smallest bones in the body, but even small changes can damage the hearing. Otosclerosis is more common in men and amongst people of certain ethnicities but can occur in anyone at any age. There are both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options offered by the specialists at Camino ENT.
What Causes Otosclerosis?
The exact cause of otosclerosis is not known, but evidence suggests a genetic link passed down from parent to child. Middle-aged Caucasian women are most at risk, and pregnancy seems to be a contributing factor, perhaps due to hormonal changes a woman is undergoing at the time. This bone growth usually occurs around the stapes bone in the middle ear, preventing it from moving freely, essential to proper hearing.
What Are the Symptoms of Otosclerosis?
Gradually worsening hearing loss is the primary symptom of otosclerosis. It may begin with an inability to hear low-pitched sounds or whispers. Other symptoms may include vertigo or dizziness and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
How is Otosclerosis Treated?
The symptoms of otosclerosis are like those of other conditions, so a thorough examination by an otolaryngologist is essential in ruling out other problems and diagnosing the disease. A hearing test will usually show signs of conductive hearing loss in the lower frequency tones, a hallmark of otosclerosis.
Mild cases of otosclerosis can be corrected with a hearing aid designed to amplify sounds.
Orally ingested sodium fluoride has been shown to slow the progression of the disease, and may be an option.
In more advanced cases, a surgical procedure known as a stapedectomy is often performed. There are inherent risks in any surgery, but left untreated, otosclerosis will only get worse. Speak to your doctor about the best treatment options for your hearing loss.
What is a Stapedectomy?
A stapedectomy is a surgical procedure performed to remove the innermost bone of the middle ear—the stapes—and replace it with a prosthesis made from a small plastic tube and stainless steel wire. This procedure improves the movement of sound from the outer to the inner ear and is most often done to treat progressive hearing loss caused by otosclerosis.
Call Camino Ear, Nose & Throat Clinic at (408) 227-6300 for more information or to schedule an appointment.