Otosclerosis is a disease that affects the inner ear and the middle ear. It concerns mainly young women. This condition leads to deafness
due to a blockage in the stapes (one of the bones that is transmits sound vibrations to the inner ear), which is due to excessive ossification. It is a hereditary infection.
The main symptom of otosclerosis is deafness. It is a known transmission deafness that most often involves both ears (one after another). In the early days of the disease, ringing may be associated with slight hearing loss. This hearing loss essentially concerns grave sounds, treble sounds continuing to be perceived normally. Nevertheless, as it evolves, the pathology will also affect the ability to perceive acute frequencies.
The diagnosis of otosclerosis is made by observing clinical signs: hearing loss despite the fact that the otoscopy, the observation of the ear and eardrum, appears normal. Similarly, the presence of tinnitus
is suggestive of otosclerosis, especially in a patient over the age of thirty.
A series of specific tests may be used:
- audiometry, for hearing loss (due to blockage of the stapes);
- tympanometry, for a possible abolition of the acoustic reflex;
- a scanner, to point out any abnormal ossification at the stapes.
Once the diagnosis of otosclerosis is confirmed, a doctor will contemplate two main treatments:
- the implementation of hearing aids;
- an operation consisting of replacing the stapes with a prosthesis and to remove the excess bone.
The choice of treatment will be made upon consultation with the patient and depending on the severity of symptoms (deafness, dizziness), the patient's health and medical history.
Otosclerosis is a hereditary disease and therefore can't be prevented. However, the onset of symptoms in a person with a parent suffering from otosclerosis should lead the latter to consult a doctor to prevent disease progression.