Otosclerosis

Otosclerosis occurs when abnormal new bone forms in the inner ear. This growth prevents proper functioning of other ear structures. This condition is a common cause of hearing loss.

  • Causes

    The cause of otosclerosis is still unknown. However, otosclerosis tends to run in families, and may be hereditary.

  • Definition

    Otosclerosis occurs when abnormal new bone forms in the inner ear. This growth prevents proper functioning of other ear structures. This condition is a common cause of hearing loss.

    The Inner Ear
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  • Diagnosis

    The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.

    Your ears may be tested. This can be done with a hearing test.

    Images may be taken of your ear. This can be done with:

    • Computed tomography (CT) scan
    • MRI scan

  • Prevention

    Prevention methods include:

    • Drinking fluoridated water
    • Getting the measles vaccination

  • Risk Factors

    Otosclerosis is more common in Caucasians and Asians, females, and people in their teens through late 40s. Factors that increase your risk of getting otosclerosis include:

    • Family history of otosclerosis
    • Race
    • Drinking nonfluoridated water: Some studies suggest that nonfluoridated water may cause a susceptible person to develop otosclerosis
    • Hormonal factors, such as pregnancy
    • Viral infections, including measles

  • Symptoms

    Gradual hearing loss is the main symptom of otosclerosis. Hearing loss may be of two types:

    • Conductive—involving the small bones of the inner ear
    • Sensorineural—involving the cochlea, which is the sensory organ in the inner ear

    Early in the disease, you may first notice trouble hearing low-pitched sounds or whispers. Other symptoms may include:

    • A sensation of spinning
    • Balance problems
    • A sensation of ringing, roaring, or buzzing in the ear

  • Treatment

    Treatments may include: