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Otosclerosis

Photo: Otosclerosis usually develops between the ages of 15 to 35

What is otosclerosis?

This condition affects the stapes (the smallest bone in the body, found in the middle ear). Although it is known to mainly affect the middle ear, the condition can move to the rest of the inner ear. Sound enters the ear and reaches the eardrum, causing the small bones of the middle ear, the ossicles, to vibrate.

The stapes transmits these vibrations to the inner ear. In otosclerosis, the stapes becomes fixed from an abnormal growth/overgrowth of bone which in turn causes conductive deafness.

What causes otosclerosis?

Otosclerosis can be a hereditary (genetic) disorder, but in many cases where there is no family history, it is thought to be caused by a virus. Otosclerosis usually develops between the ages of 15 to 35 but has been known to occur in younger children.

How is otosclerosis treated?

Treatment may involve surgery (a stapedectomy) which involves replacing the stapes with a prosthetic (artificial) device. Or you may prefer for your child to be fitted with a hearing aid.