Otosclerosis and Hearing Loss: Risk Factors, Symptoms and more
Otosclerosis and Hearing Loss are related. Hearing loss the most frequently reported symptom of otosclerosis, usually starts in one ear and then moves to the other. This loss may appear very gradually. Many people with otosclerosis first notice that they are unable to hear low-pitched sounds or can’t hear a whisper. Otosclerosis is a rare condition that causes hearing loss. It happens when a small bone in your middle ear, usually the one called the stapes gets stuck in place. Most of the time, this happens when bone tissue in your middle ear grows around the stapes in a way it shouldn’t. Otosclerosis is a term derived from oto, meaning “of the ear,” and sclerosis, meaning “abnormal hardening of body tissue.”
- Hearing loss (slow at first, but worsens over time)
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)
- Vertigo or dizziness
Otosclerosis may slowly get worse. The condition may not need to be treated until you have more serious hearing problems.
Otosclerosis is diagnosed by health care providers who specialize in hearing. These include an otolaryngologist (commonly called an ENT, because they are doctors who specialize in diseases of the ears, nose, throat, and neck), an otologist (a doctor who specializes in diseases of the ears), or an audiologist (a health care professional trained to identify, measure, and treat hearing disorders). The first step in a diagnosis is to rule out other diseases or health problems that can cause the same symptoms as otosclerosis. Next steps include hearing tests that measure hearing sensitivity (audiogram) and middle-ear sound conduction (tympanogram). Sometimes, imaging tests—such as a CT scan—are also used to diagnose otosclerosis.
Currently, there is no effective drug treatment for otosclerosis, although there is hope that continued bone-remodeling research could identify potential new therapies. Mild otosclerosis can be treated with a hearing aid that amplifies sound, but surgery is often required.
Otosclerosis Risk Factors
- Age: It usually starts when you’re young. You can develop otosclerosis between the ages of 10 and 45, but you’re most likely to get it during your 20s. Symptoms usually are at their worst in your 30s.
- Genetics: It often runs in families. A
- Gender: Both men and women get otosclerosis. Women, though, have a higher risk. Experts aren’t sure why, but if you’re a woman and develop otosclerosis during pregnancy, you’re likely to lose your hearing faster than if you were a man or you weren’t pregnant.
- Medical History: Certain medical problems can raise your chances of otosclerosis. For example, if you had measles at any time, your risk may go up. Stress fractures to the bony tissue around your inner ear also might make it more likely to happen. And immune disorders