In otosclerosis, bone overgrows around one of the three tiny bones (ossicles) in the middle ear, preventing transmission of sound vibrations to the inner ear and causing deafness. Usually both ears are affected, though not always equally Abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear, or otosclerosis, affects about 1 in 12 people, sometimes leading to hearing loss, but often symptomless.
When symptoms develop it’s usually between the ages of 20 and 30. We do not understand why otosclerosis develops but the condition is twice as common in females, and in 3 out of 5 cases someone in the family also has it.
Symptoms of Otosclerosis
The symptoms of otosclerosis develop gradually and may include:
- hearing loss in which sounds are muffled but are sometimes clearer if there’s background noise
- ringing or buzzing noises in the ears (tinnitus)
- in severe cases, dizziness and imbalance (vertigo).
Measures of Otosclerosis
Your doctor will probably be able to diagnose otosclerosis from the results of hearing tests and from your family history. The disease can’t be halted but a hearing aid may be helpful.
If not, consult your doctor about possible surgery to free up the ossicles.