Find out more about otosclerosis in our article. If you would like to have your hearing professionally tested or if you would like to treat an already diagnosed hearing loss with hearing aids - you can visit the Amplifon branch nearest to you. Our hearing specialists will advise you at any time, free of charge and without obligation.
You may experience symptoms of otosclerosis from as early as your 20s. Symptoms may include:
A first sign of otosclerosis is increasing hearing loss in one ear. After some time, the second ear follows. Often, people with otosclerosis complain of tinnitus or ringing in the ears at the same time. Both can occur in connection with otosclerosis and therefore require medical clarification.
Interestingly, patients report that they can follow conversations better in noisy environments. This could be related to the fact that they perceive disturbing sounds in low pitches more quietly due to the disease. In addition, people who suffer from this condition usually speak remarkably soft because their own voice is perceived as loud via bone conduction.
The causes of otosclerosis are still relatively unclear. Researchers are discussing the role played by familial heredity. However, viral infections, such as mumps, measles, rubella or hormonal influences are yet to be ruled out.
A connection with the female sex hormones is primarily suggested by the accumulation of cases of otosclerosis in pregnancies and women in general. In some families, several family members suffer from the disease, which is why a genetic cause is also possible.
There are several ways to diagnose otosclerosis. During the examination by an ENT specialist, the eardrum, middle ear and eustachian tube initially appear inconspicuous. However, a hearing test and the corresponding sound audiogram will provide clues that something is wrong. Clear evidence can be found by looking at the so-called Carhart depression.
This bone conduction threshold curve is located in the range between 1 and 4 kHz. However, not every patient shows this typical course in the audiogram. Various examinations provide information about whether a conductive or a sensorineural hearing loss is present and which ear is more severely affected.
Otosclerosis is a disease whose progression unfortunately cannot be stopped. Nevertheless, those affected do not have to sit idly by and watch their hearing slowly fade away. If surgery is not an option or the patient does not want to take this step, hearing aids can actively help to improve the hearing experience.
The best place to start taking action is to book a free hearing test with an Audiologist, we can then determine the level of loss and the type of hearing aid which would suit your loss. We have many designs avaliable which can be very discreet and connect to your favourite devices.
Prospects for success and risks
As a rule, stapesplasty surgery is free of complications and many patients report positive experiences.However, no operation is completely risk-free, which is why otosclerosis surgery also carries risks. Under certain circumstances, the artificial stapes may slip off, resulting in a deterioration of hearing. Temporarily, dizziness, ringing in the ears and taste disorders may occur following such a stapesplasty operation. In very rare cases, deafness of the ear or nerve damage is possible. In these cases, as well as in cases of severe pain, fever and bright red bleeding, a doctor should be consulted immediately.
How long is one unable to work after an operation?
After an otosclerosis operation, the doctor will stuff the ear with gauze strips soaked in antibiotic ointment. The patient then stays in hospital for at least half a week. In total, the patient is on sick leave for a period of two to three weeks. During this time, water must not get into the ears. However, it takes six weeks for the ears to heal completely. Due to the pressure fluctuations, the patient is not allowed to fly or dive until this period has elapsed.
Are you experiencing a decrease in your hearing ability or would like to get advice on your overall hearing health? Take a free hearing test in one of our Amplifon clinics with one of our hearing specialists.