Causes, Symptoms and Treatment of Otosclerosis

by | May 2, 2024 | News

Otosclerosis is a disease that causes abnormal bone growth in the inner ear. Over time, the function of the stapes bone in the ear becomes limited, causing conductive hearing loss. If the abnormal bone growth damages the inner ear, this can cause sensorineural hearing loss as well. Treatments for the disease can be quite effective, so recognizing the symptoms and seeking professional help is crucial.

Common Causes of Otosclerosis

The exact cause of otosclerosis is not clear. It is autoimmune in nature and is suspected to have a genetic component, as it often runs in families. Various researchers have proposed that the disease may be connected to previous measles infections, an imbalance of cytokines or hairline fractures to the bones of the inner ear.

Typical Symptoms

Symptoms often appear when people are between their 30s and 50s; however, the disease progression likely began several years before this. The most noticeable symptom of otosclerosis is gradual hearing loss. It often begins in one ear and may progress to both. Hearing loss can range from mild to severe but rarely advances to total deafness. As with many disorders of the ear, otosclerosis can cause a loss of balance, and some patients experience tinnitus as well.

Types of Treatment

Most treatments focus on correcting the resulting hearing loss rather than addressing the disease itself. This is because, like all autoimmune diseases, otosclerosis cannot be cured; however, symptoms can be successfully managed and disease progression can be slowed.

Each case of otosclerosis is unique. For patients with mild symptoms, doctors may suggest taking no treatment action unless the symptoms become worse in the future. These patients will be educated on what to watch for and receive frequent hearing screenings to monitor the progression of the disease.

Hearing Aids

Hearing aids can be effective for many people dealing with otosclerosis. These devices compensate for the damaged stapes bone by amplifying sound vibrations so that they can be heard. Modern hearing aids are powerful and unobtrusive and can greatly improve the quality of life for anyone dealing with hearing loss.


When less invasive measures are not successful or not viable, there are two surgical options used in treating otosclerosis. Stapedectomy involves removing the damaged stape bone and replacing it with a prosthesis. Alternatively, stapedotomy involves drilling a hole in the stapes bone and inserting a small prosthesis. Both procedures have a high rate of success, but as with any surgery, there are potential risks that should be discussed with medical professionals before moving forward with surgery.

Medical Management

The scientific community is not in agreement about the effectiveness of medical management of otosclerosis and research is continuing. Some studies show that the use of sodium fluoride and bisphosphonates may be effective in slowing the progression of the disease. Medical interventions can be tried as a sole treatment method or used in conjunction with hearing aids or surgery.

Diagnosis of Otosclerosis

Treatment of otosclerosis is essential to deal with the progressive hearing loss that the disease causes. If you experience symptoms, get evaluated by a specialist such as an audiologist, ENT or otolaryngologist. The HEAR Center has been helping people receive the care they need for hearing loss since 1954. Schedule an evaluation with the HEAR Center today.


Help for Hearing Loss at HEAR Center

HEAR Center was founded in 1954 by Dr. Ciwa Griffiths, who did groundbreaking work in the assessment and treatment of hearing loss in infants and children. This non-profit organization is dedicated to providing affordable hearing and speech services to all who need it through community outreach, innovation and collaboration. Schedule a consultation with HEAR Center today.

HEAR Center offers audiological evaluations, hearing aids, speech and language services, and more to California residents.

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