Condition: Otosclerosis

Otosclerosis is a condition where one of the tiny bones in the ear repeatedly restores and fuses to other bony structures, causing gradual hearing loss.

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What is otosclerosis?

Otosclerosis is a condition that can cause mild, moderate or severe hearing loss in one or both ears. It occurs when a bone in the middle ear repeatedly restores itself, interfering with sound’s ability to travel through your ear.

It is the most common cause of middle-ear mechanical hearing loss among young adults. While it can affect anyone, it’s most common in white women between the ages of 20 and 45.

What are the symptoms of otosclerosis?

The most common symptom of otosclerosis is gradual hearing loss. You might notice that you can no longer hear whispering or low-pitched tones or sounds, often ask people to repeat themselves or need to have the radio or television on a higher and higher volume. The condition affects both ears, but in most cases, one ear is more severely affected than the other.

What causes otosclerosis?

Otosclerosis occurs when a tiny triangular bone deep inside the ear, called the stapes, fuses with surrounding bone tissue. This reduces the ability of the other bones in the ear to vibrate as they should, impacting the way that sound travels through your ear, leading to reduced volume and sound quality.

It's not yet understood why this happens, but it may be passed on through your genes, so you are more likely to get otosclerosis if a close relative has it.

How is otosclerosis diagnosed?

If you have symptoms of otosclerosis it’s important to see a specialist for a diagnosis and treatment. At OneWelbeck, our ear, nose and throat (ENT) consultants will be able to make a diagnosis by examining the inside of your ears, taking your medical history, discussing your symptoms with you, and running some tests such as hearing and balance tests, and a CT scan.

What are the treatment options for otosclerosis?

There are several treatment options available for otosclerosis, including:

Stapes surgery can take different forms. A traditional stapedectomy is where the whole of the stapes is removed and the chain of hearing is reconstructed with some form of prosthesis, most commonly a piston. Now, a more modern form of stapedotomy is performed where only the top part (superstructure) of the stapes is removed. A tiny hole is then created in the remaining footplate through which a piston is placed to restore continuity of the chain and thus hearing.

Surgery can take place under general or local anaesthetic and is commonly performed as a day case at OneWelbeck. The hearing results can be excellent with very good results possible in over 90% of cases.

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Otosclerosis Specialists

All our private ENT specialists at OneWelbeck in London are leaders in their sub-specialties, providing the highest quality treatment to ensure you receive the best available care.