The term otosclerosis is derived from the words oto and sclerosis. “Oto” means of the ear while sclerosis refers to abnormal hardening of the body tissue. Otosclerosis is a condition that is caused due to unnatural remodeling of the bone present in the middle ear.
As the old bone tissues are replaced continuously by the new tissues throughout the life of an individual, it is not possible to detect otoscleoris in the initial stage. The problem is mostly detected when the abnormal growth of the tissue obstructs sound to travel through the middle ear and reach the inner ear.
Though the problem is common in men as well as women, reports indicate women are at greater risk of contracting this disease than men.
Symptoms Associated With Otosclerosis
Difficulty in hearing, which slowly leads to complete loss of hearing, is one of the most common symptoms of otosclerosis. In most cases, the hearing problem starts in one ear and gradually moves to the other ear leading to complete loss of perceiving any kind of sound.
While hearing is lost gradually in most patients, some may get it very abruptly.
People who are affected with otosclerosis generally fail to hear whispers or low sounds in the initial stage, which if ignored cause further blockage in the ear. Apart from this, people may also develop tinnitus in their ear and may feel hissing, buzzing or roaring sound inside their ear.
Balance problems and dizziness are also experienced by some patients diagnosed with otosclerosis.
What Are The Causes Of Otosclerosis?
Otosclerosis is mostly caused when any bone tissue in the middle ear starts growing abnormally. Abnormal growth of the bone causes it to get stuck in its position, which in turn prevents it from vibrating and as a result the sound is unable to travel from the middle ear to the inner part of the ear.
Though this is considered to be the most common cause, some research indicates that measles infection can also lead to ostosclerosis. Immune disorders are also responsible for this condition in some patients. Sometimes the affliction is caused due to injury to the ear. Some people also develop this problem due to heredity reasons.
Treatment Options For Otosclerosis
There is no alternative mode of treatment to cure this condition. However, technology can help restore loss of hearing due to otosclerosis. In most cases, it is the best alternative as the solution entails least invasion. Mild otosclerosis can be treated with a hearing aid that amplifies sound.
Although hearing aids do not address the root cause of the disease, it helps to treat the most prevalent symptom associated with this condition of hearing loss. If the condition becomes serious then surgery might be required.
Medically known as stapedectomy, the surgical procedure involves inserting a prosthetic device into the middle ear to bypass the abnormal bone. Thus the sound waves are made to reach the inner ear thereby restore hearing.