Hearing impairment can be associated with both congenital defects and acquired conditions that cause hearing impairment, leading, inter alia, to its permanent loss. In the case of otosclerosis, we are dealing with an abnormal remodeling of the bony tissues of the labyrinth.
Otosclerosis, once called stirrup sclerosis, is responsible for about 20-25% of conductive hearing loss. The first case of otosclerosis was diagnosed in 1741, but it wasn’t until 1869 that the disease acquired a name that is still used in medical terms to this day. Otosclerosis causes unpleasant symptoms, among other things, progressive hearing loss, as well as persistent tinnitus. The symptoms of otosclerosis in some patients may be dizziness. This disease often runs in families, so its symptoms in closely related people are indicative of a hearing diagnosis. It is estimated that up to all cases of otosclerosis run in families. The disease can take different forms – one of the most common forms of otosclerosis is bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. It should be noted that although otosclerosis often occurs on both sides, its symptoms do not have to appear at the same time – initially otosclerosis symptoms may affect one ear. One of the factors leading to the development of otosclerosis is genetic – the disease is inherited in an autosomal dominant manner. A feature of this mode of inheritance is the presence of symptoms of the disease in some people who have inherited the defective gene.
Moreover, incomplete penetrance and different expansion of the damaged gene give rise to disease symptoms of varying severity. Learn more about otosclerosis. The disease was often diagnosed as a complication of the persistent measles virus. Over the past few years, this disease has become a threat again, which may also lead to an increase in the proportion of people suffering from otosclerosis.
Otosclerosis – what do you want to know?
Otosclerosis is a disease of the hearing organ. It develops in the bone labyrinth, which leads to abnormalities of the bony chain, which are manifested by progressive progressive hearing loss. As mentioned earlier, otosclerosis runs in families. The probability of inheriting the disease is high. According to statistics, women get sick more often, which may be related to the influence of hormonal disorders on the development of this disease. Otosclerosis usually appears in adolescents, young adults and middle-aged people – symptoms of varying severity appear in patients between 15 and 45 years of age. In the case of women, the first symptoms that may indicate otosclerosis often appear during pregnancy, which confirms the thesis that the disease is associated with hormonal changes in the body. It happens that otosclerosis is diagnosed in childhood – then the disease has a more severe course and is difficult to treat.
Otosclerosis requires specialized treatment. Untreated bone disorders not only lead to increased discomfort and hearing problems, but can also lead to complete deafness. Otosclerosis is a disease of the middle ear and inner ear, which means that in addition to progressive hearing loss and tinnitus, it can also cause, among other things, dizziness and constant imbalance.
Hearing deterioration due to the development of otosclerosis affects both ears, but the symptoms of the right and left ear may appear at different intervals of time. Sometimes hearing problems can occur on one side.
In the case of patients with sensorineural hearing impairment, otosclerosis affects a significant proportion of responders. Conductive hearing loss also develops as a result of impaired passenger mobility. Moreover, the effect of otosclerosis on the balance organ also further complicates the lives of patients, although balance disorders and dizziness associated with labyrinthine dysfunction are not always a symptom of this disease.
Causes of hardening of the ear
Otosclerosis is a “mysterious” disease. Despite numerous studies, the cause of the development of otosclerosis is still not clear. Over many decades, various theses have been put forward about the causes of this disease. Research has shown that the development of otosclerosis can be greatly affected, among other things:
- hormonal changes related to puberty, pregnancy, menopause, endocrine diseases,
- smallpox virus infection,
- Autoimmune disorders.
As already mentioned, the inheritance of the disease is autosomal dominant and is one of the most common reasons for its development. Unfortunately, the basis of changes affecting the elements of the inner ear and middle ear (auditory bone) is still unknown, which makes treatment of otosclerosis difficult.
The great challenge for clinicians is the unexpected genetic pathway of otosclerosis, which is related to an inheritance pattern. It should be noted that the family history of otosclerosis is an indication for the tests, since the diagnosis at the initial stage of the disease allows to start treatment before irreversible damage to the hearing organ occurs. Complete deafness is a complication of untreated or improperly treated otosclerosis that can be avoided by responding to symptoms.
What’s more, hearing problems increase, incl. Tinnitus and dizziness, which may be a symptom of otosclerosis, greatly affect the quality of life, impeding normal functioning.
Otosclerosis – Symptoms
The main symptom of otosclerosis is unilateral or bilateral hearing loss and tinnitus. A feature of otosclerosis is a relatively slow progression of the disease and a better understanding of speech in noise. Other symptoms of otosclerosis are dizziness and imbalance, which, however, do not occur in all patients.
For most patients, there are no other causes of hearing loss. An ear colonoscopy does not reveal any noticeable changes. However, hearing problems can be observed during the audiometric test, which allows you to detect the disease with a very high probability. However, additional tests are required to make a diagnosis and start treatment.
In the diagnosis of otosclerosis, an interview with the patient plays an important role, in addition to colorimetric audiometry and ENT examination. The disease is diagnosed after taking other tests that allow you to avoid a misdiagnosis. One of the tests that finally allows you to confirm the doctor’s suspicions is a CT scan.
Otosclerosis – treatment
Otosclerosis is difficult to treat. Its success depends, among other things, from the moment of diagnosis. If the diagnosis is made when there is significant hearing loss, the treatment process is not effective. In the case of otosclerosis, no drug treatment is used – there are no drugs that can stop or reverse the changes in the bony labyrinth. However, additional drug therapy may be indicated if there is a need to improve blood flow to the inner ear as well as to the central nervous system.
Hearing loss associated with otosclerosis is treated surgically under general anesthesia. During otosclerosis surgery, it is possible to restore the normal functions of the ossicles and reduce hearing loss. The result of the surgery may be the complete removal of hearing loss (improvement of hearing), but the effects of the surgery depend, among other things, on the degree of damage to the hearing organ. Thanks to surgery, it is also possible to reduce or completely eliminate other symptoms of the disease, including tinnitus and dizziness.
In short, otosclerosis is an auditory disease that leads to changes in the bone labyrinth, as well as disturbances in the functioning of the bony chain. Women often suffer from otosclerosis, which may be related to hormonal changes that occur in the body, for example. During pregnancy. Otosclerosis is diagnosed during audiometric examination, because otoscopy does not reveal any changes related to this disease in the elements of the hearing system. The way to reduce or completely eliminate the symptoms of otosclerosis is surgery. Hearing capabilities also allow patients to improve their hearing aids.
Meniere’s disease. Symptoms, causes and treatment of labyrinth hydrocele
“Internet Geek. Food Enthusiast. Thinker. Beer Practitioner. Bacon Specialist. Music Addict. Traveler.”