If you have a hearing problem, then you should understand that there are many causes of ailments and disabilities involving the ear. Also, certain ailments will affect different parts of the ear. Otosclerosis is one condition that involves the bones of the ear. Keep reading to learn about this disease and how it is treated.
What Is Otosclerosis?
Otosclerosis is a disease where one or several of the bones within the ear harden and prevent sound waves from moving through the ear properly. Typically, the disease affects the stapes, the bone that vibrates inside the ear. The stapes is responsible for amplifying sounds as they move through a small membrane in the ear.
When otosclerosis affects the stapes, the bone goes through an abnormal remodeling process where the bone becomes thick. The thick bone does not vibrate as easily or quickly as a normal stapes would. The result is a reduced level of hearing.
The abnormal remodeling condition is sometimes linked to measles. The remodeling and healing of the ear bones after a fracture and certain types of immune disorders can cause the disease. Abnormal levels of certain inflammatory substances in the body can lead to otosclerosis as well, and sometimes the disease runs in families. In other words, it seems to have a hereditary component.
How Is Otosclerosis Treated?
Treatments for otosclerosis vary based on the severity of the condition and the amount of hearing loss noted. If the case is mild and hearing loss is minimal, then a hearing aid can help to amplify sounds to a normal level. Aids can be used for moderate cases as well, but sounds may not be amplified enough to retain a normal level of hearing.
If you have a serious case of otosclerosis where the stapes is too abnormally shaped to vibrate, then a surgical procedure may be required. Surgery will not be used to replace the stapes. However, an implement can be inserted in the ear to replace the small bone. The procedure is called a stapedectomy and it essentially bypasses the stapes with a prosthetic.
If a stapedectomy is conducted, vibrations can transmit through the ear once again and the hearing problem may be resolved partially or fully. The partial resolution will mean that a hearing aid is still required.
If you want to know more about hearing loss and conditions like otosclerosis, speak with an audiologist or another type of hearing professional to discuss hearing loss treatments possible for you.