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  • Cynthia M. Johnson, MA
Publication Type:





Otosclerosis is the abnormal growth of bone in the middle ear. This makes it hard for structures in the ear to work as they should. It can lead to hearing loss.

The Inner Ear.

Nucleus factsheet imagehttp://services.epnet.com/getimage.aspx?imageiid=75507550si55550607.jpgsi55550607.jpgNULLjpgsi55550607.jpgNULL\\hgfiler01a\intellect\images\si55550607.jpgNULL8NULL2008-12-10254390Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


The cause is not clear, but genetics may play a role.

Risk Factors

This problem is more common in women. It is also more common in people who are White.

Other things that may raise the risk are:

  • Having other family members with the disorder
  • Viral infections, specifically measles


At first, a person may have problems hearing low-pitched sounds or whispers. Hearing loss may worsen. In time, other problems may be:

  • A feeling of spinning when standing still
  • Balance problems
  • Ringing, roaring, or buzzing in the ear


The doctor will ask about symptoms and past health. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the ears. Hearing tests will be done.

To confirm the diagnosis, images may be taken of the ears. This can be done with:


People who have mild symptoms may be monitored for any changes.

The goal of treatment in others is to improve hearing. Options are:

  • Wearing hearing aids
  • Taking medicines to slow the disease, such as:
    • Sodium fluoride
    • Bisphosphonates

People who are not helped by these methods may need surgery. Options are:

  • Stapedectomy—to replace the diseased bone with an artificial device
  • Circumferential stapes mobilization—to correct part of the stapes bone in the ear
  • Cochlear implantation—to implant a device to help with hearing


The risk of this problem may be lowered by getting the measles vaccine.





  • Otosclerosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/otosclerosis.
  • Otosclerosis. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) website. Available at: http://www.nidcd.nih.gov/health/hearing/pages/otosclerosis.aspx.
  • Quesnel AM, Ishai R, et al. Otosclerosis: temporal bone pathology. Otolaryngol Clin North Am. 2018;51(2):291-303.
  • What you should know about otosclerosis. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: http://www.entnet.org/?q=node/1316.


  • Daniel A. Ostrovsky, MD
Last Updated:

This content is reviewed regularly and is updated when new and relevant evidence is made available. This information is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with questions regarding a medical condition.