Otosclerosis

(Otospongiosis)

Definition

Otosclerosis occurs when abnormal new bone forms in the inner ear. This growth prevents proper functioning of other ear structures. This condition is a common cause of hearing loss.
The Inner Ear
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Causes

The cause of otosclerosis is still unknown, but genetics appears to play a role.

Risk Factors

Otosclerosis is more common in Caucasians, Asians, females, and in people in their teens through late 40s. Other factors that increase chance of otosclerosis include:
  • Family history of otosclerosis
  • Drinking nonfluoridated water—some studies suggest that nonfluoridated water may cause a susceptible person to develop otosclerosis
  • Hormonal factors, such as pregnancy
  • Viral infections, including measles

Symptoms

Gradual hearing loss is the main symptom of otosclerosis. Hearing loss may be of two types:
  • Conductive—involving the small bones of the inner ear
  • Sensorineural—involving the cochlea, which is the sensory organ in the inner ear
Early in the disease, you may first notice trouble hearing low-pitched sounds or whispers. Other symptoms may include:
  • A sensation of spinning
  • Balance problems
  • A sensation of ringing, roaring, or buzzing in the ear

Diagnosis

The doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.Your ears may be tested. This can be done with a hearing test.Images may be taken of your ear. This can be done with:

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