Otosclerosis - Everything you need to know...
Otosclerosis is a condition that causes gradual hearing loss. It is caused by bone remodeling. The term “Otosclerosis” is an integration of two words, “oto“and “sclerosi,” meaning “of the ear,” and “abnormal hardening of body tissue,” respectively.
- This condition commonly occurs in people aged between 15 and 35.
- Women have a higher chance of being affected.
- Pregnancy may make the condition worse, so symptoms are commonly first noticed during pregnancy.
Causes of Otosclerosis
The sound we hear, causes eardrums to vibrate and create motion in three tiny bones in the middle ear called the malleus, incus, and stapes. In order to have a healthy hearing all these three bones should vibrate and move freely.
However, in few people there is failure of movement in the “Stapes” bone. This limits the transmission of sound to the inner ear and thus causes Otosclerosis. The actual reason for this condition is still unknown. However, it is likely to be influenced by a combination of several factors, such as:
- Hereditary (genetic) factors.
- Unusual bone formation.
- Due to low fluoride levels in the body
- Viruses, particularly measles, may contribute to developing otosclerosis.
The most common symptom is, obviously, hearing loss. It usually starts in one ear and eventually moves to the second. Initially, the patient will not be able to grasp low-pitched sounds such as whispers. But this eventually gets worse over time.
The other symptoms include:
Speaking softly: People with Otosclerosis tend to speak softly as they feel their voice to be louder.
Better hearing in noisy areas: An apparent improvement in the ability to hear the conversation in the presence of loud background noise is observed in people with Otosclerosis.
Hearing sounds from within the body: 4 out of 5 people with Otosclerosis suffer from tinnitus, which is a perception of Ringing or buzzing noise in one or both ears associated with hearing loss.
In rare scenarios, dizziness, vertigo, or balance problems also are experienced.
Diagnosis of Otosclerosis
Otosclerosis is diagnosed by ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat specialist). Hearing tests such as audiogram and tympanogram are done, showing a specific pattern of hearing loss in otosclerosis which confirms the diagnosis.
The specialist may sometimes recommend imaging tests like CT scan, which will give them more information about how severe the otosclerosis is.
- Hearing aids
The easiest way to treat mild otosclerosis is by using hearing aids. They amplify the sound. However, when the severity increases, hearing aids may not be able to help much.
Surgery is often required in most cases of Otosclerosis as it progresses gradually. The most common and specialized surgery known as a stapedotomy/stapedectomy is done at such times. This process includes removing and replacing the stapes with a prosthetic device designed to serve the same function as the bone.
- Treatment through Drugs
Unfortunately, there is no effective drug treatment for otosclerosis. But fluoride tablets may possibly slow the progression of otosclerosis in some cases or are started before surgery to stabilize the disease.
At Aahan ENT Clinic, we clearly understand your condition with in-depth analysis to proceed with proper treatment. When you find the symptoms mentioned above, it is highly suggested to make an appointment right away. Our professionals are here to help you.