Otosclerosis is a disorder caused by abnormal bone remodeling at the junction between the middle ear and the inner ear. It usually causes fixation of the smallest of the three middle ear bones (the stapes). Often beginning in early adulthood, otosclerosis causes a progressive hearing loss which can be accelerated in pregnant women. The hearing loss is usually classified as conductive, so sound cannot be effectively transmitted through the ear.
Otosclerosis can be treated through hearing aid evaluation and fitting and with microsurgery. Hearing aids can almost always overcome the conductive hearing loss. However, the hearing loss can often progress over time. If otosclerosis patients have a conductive hearing loss with good word understanding and no ear canal, eardrum, or other middle ear pathology, they are candidates for stapedotomy (surgery to remove the malfunctioning stapes and replace it with a prosthesis). For patients with ear canal, eardrum, or other middle ear pathology, stapedectomy surgery is an option after the pathologies are corrected. In general, the vast majority (>90-95%) of otosclerosis patients enjoy improved hearing after one surgery.