Otosclerosis

(Otospongiosis)

Definition

Otosclerosis is the growth of abnormal new bone in the inner ear. This growth prevents proper functioning of ear structures. Hearing loss can occur when the new bone surrounds the stapes and other small bones needed for hearing. This 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 may 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 2 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—vertigo
  • Balance problems
  • A sensation of ringing, roaring, or buzzing in the ear—tinnitus

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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