A few things could contribute to hearing loss, from growing old to going out of a stadium from a really loud rock concert — but have you heard about the kind of hearing loss due to a bone in the ear?
Doctors call it otosclerosis, and it’s a condition that starts out mild, then gradually goes worse, to the point of becoming deaf. Here’s what you need to know about this health problem:
1. It happens due to abnormal bone formation
Bone is a living tissue, so it breaks down the old and renews itself. In the case of otosclerosis, the remodeling process of the stirrup, one of the bones in the middle ear, has malfunctioned, that an abnormal bone emerges.
This then keeps the sound stimulus from travelling to the inner ear. Why this happens is still unknown, but Denver’s hearing specialists explain that genetics may play a role, since most people who develop this have a family history of such. It could also be due to measles virus or drinking non-fluoridated water.
2. Its main symptom is hearing loss
Initially, you will notice that it’s hard to hear low-pitched sounds or whispers, but over time, the hearing loss will grow severe and may lead to complete deafness. There are instances though when patients hear better — that is, hear the sounds coming from their body.
Tinnitus is a condition in which people hear ringing, buzzing, and hissing inside the ear or the head, and is a common symptom as well of otosclerosis. In some instances, patients also experience dizziness and problems in maintaining a sense of balance.
3. Treatment depends on the severity of symptoms
When the symptoms are still mild, doctors often recommend hearing aids. But when the condition grows worse, you would need to go through surgery. Doctors replace the abnormal stirrup with plastic or artificial bone.
Be assured in the fact that there’s a high success rate in such surgeries. It restores hearing and prevents further damage that might affect the inner ear. Your doctor should discuss with you how you can prepare for the operation.
Don’t underestimate those occasional incidents of hearing loss. It might signal otosclerosis. Talk to an ENT specialist immediately to address the problem.