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Otosclerosis is a health problem associated with dysfunction of hearing, indicating an abnormal hardening of body tissue, which limits the proper functioning of the middle ear.
Otosclerosis is caused by abnormal remodeling of bone in the middle ear. Our body is constantly rebuilding bone tissue throughout our lives, replacing the old with new, however, otosclerosis is a disorder of that capacity.
The disease affects mostly women and is one of the important causes of hearing problems. The bones of the middle ear help us receiving vibrations of sound, and when due to illness, they are too built-up hearing things becomes difficult.
The causes of otosclerosis
Otosclerosis usually occurs when one of the bones in the middle ear, the stapes is blocked and stuck in one place. Once the bone is not able to vibrate, the sound can not be further transmitted to the inner ear, thus, suffers from these conditions our hearing.
The reasons why this happens is not entirely clear, but scientists associated disease with pre-existing infection with measles, fractures of the bone surrounding the inner ear or immune disorders. Often, the disease occurs in close family members, which could be a problem inherited.
Probably, it is also about the interaction between the three different cells of our immune system – cytokines. The right balance of these three substances is essential for healthy bone remodeling, and its absence might contribute to the irregularity such as otosclerosis.
The symptoms of otosclerosis
The most frequent symptoms of the disease are lost of hearing, usually appearing in one ear, and then transferred to another. This loss of hearing often occurs gradually. Many patients with otosclerosis complain of difficulties hearing a low sounds or whispers. Some patients also complained about:
- tinnitus ,
- ringing, roaring, buzzing or hissing in the ears and head-related hearing loss.
Diagnosis and treatment of otosclerosis
Otosclerosis is most often diagnosed by throat specialist, aural surgeon or audiologist, who specialize in diseases of the ear and hearing disorders. The first step in diagnosis is to exclude other diseases and health problems that may be associated with hearing sensitivity and conduction of sound to the middle ear.
The treatment of the disease is not easy because no single way will help to get rid of the problem. However, there is hope for improvement, especially in patients with mild otosclerosis. At the least advanced form, the most commonly used is a hearing aid, which helps to strengthen the sounds, but often, it is necessary to surgery.
The procedure known as stapedectomy lets restore patency the flow of sounds to the middle ear, which often helps restore hearing. But we must remember about the risks of surgery, which can help a lot, but it can also make things worse, causing severe hearing loss.