Middle Ear

Otosclerosis

What is it?

Otosclerosis is a condition where abnormal bone forms around the stapes footplate. The stapes is the smallest bone in our bodies. Its job is to transfer sound waves from the eardrum into the cochlea – our hearing organ. As the bone is laid down the restricted movement means less sound waves get across so a progressive hearing loss results.

What causes it?

The cause is unknown. Two thirds of cases occur in women. About half of patients have another affected family member.

How does it affect people?

  • hearing is slowly lost as the bone forms
  • usually both ears are effected, sometimes only one
  • some women can experience worsening otosclerosis during a pregnancy
  • a number of patients have the unusual symptom of hyperacusis – an extreme sensitivity to sound
  • tinnitus may be troublesome
  • occasionally positional vertigo can occur
  • autophony – when your own voice sounds loud and as if ‘in a barrel’ – may be experienced with the conductive hearing loss

What can be done?

Anyone experiencing hearing loss is wise to get a hearing test. Our TOLBECS Ear Nurse Therapists could see you soon for a quick hearing test. If there is loss of hearing, they would refer you to an Audiologist for further investigation.

An ENT Surgeon is able to advise on what may be surgically possible to restore hearing. The use of a hearing aid may also be an option.