Abnormal Bone Growth Increases Hearing Loss

Otosclerosis is a rare condition in which the bone in the middle ear, called the stapes, grows in an irregular shape. The bone growth abnormality can prevent sound from traveling correctly through the ear canal. Severe cases of otosclerosis could lead to permanent hearing loss. Knowing the symptoms is critical to finding the appropriate treatment options.

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1. Hearing loss

Otosclerosis can be mistaken for a normal part of aging. People with otosclerosis may begin by noticing a gradual hearing loss that starts with low-pitched sounds. Hearing loss can develop in one or both ears. Only a small percentage of people with otosclerosis develop hearing loss in just one ear.

2. Tinnitus

Faint ringing, roaring, or hissing in the ears, is a common symptom of otosclerosis. Tinnitus usually accompanies hearing loss as a symptom of the ear condition. Surgery can help to reduce tinnitus, but on rare occasions, surgery can worsen the problem.

3. Dizziness

Balance problems and vertigo are additional progressive symptoms of otosclerosis. Dizziness and balance issues begin when abnormal bone growth in the middle ear begins to move into the inner ear. The bone growth affects otolith organs and semicircular canals.

Otosclerosis diagnosis

The cause of otosclerosis is unknown, but research suggests that the trait may be inheritable. Patients should visit a doctor or otolaryngologist immediately if otosclerosis symptoms are suspected. Doctors may perform a hearing test to determine the extent of the hearing loss. Temporal bone CT can be used to identify underlying causes of hearing loss.

Otosclerosis treatment

For mild cases, doctors may recommend to wait and see how the hearing symptoms progress. If hearing becomes progressively worse, doctors may recommend a hearing aid to amplify sound. Unfortunately, treatment for otosclerosis is limited. Surgery is a standard otosclerosis procedure, which replaces the bone buildup with an artificial part to restore normal hearing.

Surgery can reverse hearing loss

Untreated otosclerosis gets worse and speeds up the need for surgery. For severe cases of otosclerosis, a stapedectomy can reverse some or all of the hearing loss experienced. While complications exist for any operation, a stapedectomy can be the final line of defense for complete deafness and constant dizziness. Speak with an ear, nose, and throat (ENT) specialist for more information about early hearing loss and otosclerosis.

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