Otosclerosis is the hardening or abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear. This condition can cause hearing loss, ranging from mild to severe.

The middle ear which is located behind the eardrum has several small bones, namely the malleus, incus and stapes . Under normal conditions, these bones will vibrate when sound waves enter the ear, and transmit the sound to the inner ear. That way, voices can be heard.

In otosclerosis , the bones in the middle ear grow or harden abnormally so that they become stiff and unable to vibrate. This condition results in sound waves not being able to enter the inner ear resulting in hearing loss .

Causes of Otosclerosis

Otosclerosis occurs due to abnormal bone growth in the middle ear, most commonly the stapes bone . It is not known exactly why the bone grows. However, there are a number of factors that can increase the risk of this condition, namely:

  • 20–30 years old
  • Female gender
  • Have a family history of otosclerosis
  • Suffering from measles
  • Have an injury to the bones of the inner ear
  • Has a weak immune system

Symptoms of Otosclerosis

The main symptom of otosclerosis is hearing loss , which can occur in one or both ears. This symptom at first makes the sufferer unable to hear low-pitched sounds, such as a whisper, then these symptoms will get worse over time.

Apart from hearing loss, otosclerosis can also cause other symptoms, such as:

  • Dizzy
  • Ringing ears ( tinnitus )
  • Balance disorders

When to see a doctor

The symptoms of otosclerosis are difficult to distinguish from symptoms in other ear disorders. Therefore, do an examination with a doctor if you experience the complaints mentioned above. Through a medical examination, the doctor can find out the cause of this condition.

Diagnosis of Otosclerosis

To diagnose otosclerosis, the doctor will conduct questions and answers regarding the symptoms experienced by the patient, as well as the medical history of the patient and his family. Next, the doctor will perform a physical examination of the patient's ear.

After that, the doctor can carry out several supporting examinations to establish a diagnosis, such as:

  • Audiometric test , to find out how well the patient's hearing functions, by measuring the range of tones that can be heard
  • Tympanometry test, to find out how well the eardrum is functioning
  • CT scan , to see the condition of the bones and tissues in the ear more clearly, and detect if there are abnormalities in the ear

Otosclerosis Treatment

Treatment of otosclerosis aims to improve hearing loss and prevent it from getting worse. The doctor will adjust the method of otosclerosis treatment according to the severity of the disease.

Some of these treatment methods are:

Use of hearing aids

Doctors may suggest using hearing aids for patients with mild hearing loss.

Stapedectomy surgery

Stapedectomy is performed in patients with severe hearing loss. In this operation, the doctor will remove the stapes bone and replace it with a prosthesis (artificial stapes bone). The goal is for sound waves to re-enter the inner ear so that hearing becomes better.

Cochlear implant surgery

Cochlear implant placement is done if otosclerosis causes interference with the cells in the inner ear and cannot be treated with a stapedectomy.

In this operation, the doctor will install a special electronic device in the ear that can capture sound and stimulate the inner ear's nerve structures that lead to the brain.

Otosclerosis Complications

Although rare, otosclerosis can cause complete deafness. This condition makes the ear unable to hear sound at all. As a result, sufferers will experience a decrease in quality of life, such as:

  • Fewer opportunities to work
  • Difficulty communicating with others
  • Losing self-confidence

Otosclerosis Prevention

Otosclerosis cannot be prevented, because the cause is not known with certainty. In addition, a number of factors that can increase the risk of otosclerosis are difficult to prevent, especially heredity. Therefore, premarital counseling is recommended for couples who have a family history of otosclerosis.

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