Hearing Impairment from Otosclerosis
Microscopic examination of ears affected by otosclerosis show areas softening and hardening of the bone. This process may involve the third bone of hearing (stapes bone), the inner ear, or both.
When otosclerosis spreads to the inner ear, a sensorineural hearing impairment may result due to interference with the nerve function. This process is called cochlear otosclerosis. Once this type of hearing loss develops, it is permanent. Rarely, otosclerosis may extend to involve the balance canals, causing dizziness.
Usually, otosclerosis involves the stapes bone. Normally, the stapes bone is attached to the inner ear by a ligament, which allows the stapes to vibrate against the inner ear fluids in response to sound. Otosclerosis causes fixation of the stapes, resulting in a conductive hearing loss. This type of hearing loss is termed stapedial otosclerosis and is usually correctable by surgery.
The amount of hearing loss due involvement of the stapes and/or inner ear may only be determined by carefully administered hearing tests.
There are currently no medical treatments to improve the hearing in otosclerosis. In some cases, medication may be helpful in preventing further loss of hearing. Hearing aids may be used to assist in accommodating to the hearing loss.
The stapes operation (stapedectomy/stapedotomy) is recommended for patients with otosclerosis who are candidates for surgery. The operation is performed under local or general anesthetic and is typically experienced as an outpatient procedure. Over 90 percent of these operations are successful in restoring the hearing permanently. [link to services offered, stapedectomy]