What is otosclerosis?

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Otosclerosis: Overview

Otosclerosis occurs when bone in the middle ear grows more than it should. The bones in the middle ear are called the malleus, incus and stapes. This condition usually happens with the stapes bone. This bone growth keeps the ear from working well and can cause hearing loss. In some cases, hearing loss can be severe.

Doctors do not know for sure what causes otosclerosis. It may run in families. A person who has a parent with this condition is more likely to get it. It may also be caused by changes in hormones that happen during pregnancy or by infection with certain viruses.

If you have hearing loss, hearing aids may help you hear better. In some cases, surgery is needed to restore hearing.


Otosclerosis is a condition in which there is an overgrowth of bone in the space behind the eardrum (middle ear). Symptoms include tinnitus (such as ringing in the ears), dizziness, and some hearing loss, with severe hearing loss (deafness) developing as the middle and inner ear become less functional.

The cause of otosclerosis is unknown, although it may be hereditary. Hearing loss from otosclerosis is usually noticed in young adults. Women have otosclerosis twice as often as men. The condition may get worse during pregnancy.

Hearing loss caused by otosclerosis may sometimes be improved by surgery.

How can you care for otosclerosis?

  • Talk to a doctor who specializes in ear and hearing disorders to find out if you need a hearing aid. If you do, another type of specialist (audiologist) can help you decide what type and style of hearing aid is best for you.

Otosclerosis: When to call

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor if:

  • You notice changes in hearing.
  • You have any problems.

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