Mr Michel Neeff - Otolaryngologist @ ENT Associates
Private Service, ENT/ Head & Neck Surgery, Paediatrics
In otosclerosis, there is new bone formation around the stapes (hearing bone) in the middle ear. The stapes becomes more rigid or fixed in position and is unable to vibrate to allow sound to pass to the inner ear. When the stapes is not vibrating as well as it should, gradual hearing loss will occur. Otosclerosis may occur in one or both ears and may sometimes be associated with ringing/clicking/buzzing noises in your ear (tinnitus). The condition will be diagnosed by hearing tests and tympanometry. Otosclerosis most often develops during teenage and early adult years and tends to run in families. The condition can become worse during pregnancy.
Patients should trial a hearing aid as first line of treatment. For those unhappy with a hearing aid a procedure called stapedotomy can be performed. This is a microsurgical procedure (microscopic lenses are used to help the surgeon see the tiny structures involved) usually performed through the ear canal. A small cut (incision) is made in the ear canal near the eardrum and the eardrum is lifted, exposing the middle ear and its bones. Part of the stapes bone is removed and an artificial prosthesis inserted to help transmit sound into the inner ear. The eardrum is then folded back into position. The surgery will be performed under general anaesthetic (you sleep through it). You will be advised not to fly, blow your nose or allow any water to get into your ear for about six weeks after the operation. Other treatments include taking sodium fluoride which theoretically helps harden the bone, preventing progression of otosclerosis.