This is a progressive disorder in which there is abnormal bone growth around the stapes (or stirrup), one of the bones in the middle ear.
The stapes may eventually become fused to the cochlea. This stops the bones from vibrating correctly. If the bones do not vibrate sound cannot be transmitted to the cochlea, resulting in a hearing loss.
Otosclerosis can be genetic and often runs in families, but some people can develop it without any past incidences in their family.
Otosclerosis can be speeded up by pregnancy as it can be affected by female hormones.
What might help?
People with otosclerosis can find wearing a hearing aid very helpful.
Sometimes an operation is performed, either a stapedectomy (removal and replacement of the stapes) or a stapedotomy (a hole is made in the stapes and a prosthetic is inserted), which usually restores some or most hearing.
Further information can be found in:
British Tinnitus Association’s website – page on otosclerosis