Skip to main content




is a condition that causes too much bone to grow in part of the ear. The extra bone causes a bone in the middle ear called the stapes to become rigid and stop vibrating. Sound moves as vibration from one part of the ear to another. If the stapes cannot vibrate, sound cannot move further into the ear. This means you will not be able to hear the sound completely. The sound might be muffled, or you might not be able to hear certain sounds at all. Over time, otosclerosis can cause severe or complete hearing loss. Otosclerosis usually affects both ears, but it may affect only one ear.

Ear Anatomy

Common signs and symptoms:

Signs and symptoms usually start around age 20 but can start as early as 10 years. Signs and symptoms usually continue to get worse until about age 50. You may have any of the following:

  • Slow hearing loss that may start in one ear and move to the other
  • Trouble hearing low sounds, such as a whisper
  • Hearing more easily in a crowded room with a lot of background noise
  • Dizziness, trouble keeping your balance, or vertigo (feeling that you are moving when you are not)
  • Tinnitus (ringing or other sounds in the ear)

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You have new or worsening symptoms.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


may not be needed. Your healthcare provider may want you to get a hearing test every year. Treatment depends on the type of otosclerosis you have. If the bones that surround your inner ear are affected, treatment may not be available. This type of otosclerosis is called sensory loss. Conductive loss affects the small bones of the middle ear. Treatment for conductive loss may include any of the following:

  • Hearing aids may help you hear low tones more easily. Your healthcare provider can help you choose the right kind of hearing aid for you.
  • An assistive listening device can help you hear certain sounds through earphones or a headset. The device may help you hear better when you watch TV, sit in a classroom, or listen to a speaker. Devices are available for telephones and doorbells that use flashing lights or vibration to let you know they are ringing. The devices can be used with hearing aids.
  • A cochlear implant may be placed if you have severe hearing loss. A cochlear implant is a device that is put into your cochlea (a part of your inner ear) during surgery. The implant can help you continue to hear certain sounds, but it will not restore normal hearing. Your healthcare provider can tell you if a cochlear implant is right for you. This is based on the type of hearing loss you have.
  • Surgery called stapedectomy may be used to remove part or all of your stapes and replace it with an artificial piece. Stapedectomy is used to restore your hearing. Surgery is usually done on one ear at a time.

Manage your symptoms:

  • Protect your hearing. Use ear plugs or ear protectors when you are around loud noises, such as a lawnmower or loud music during a concert. Use foam earplugs that completely block your ear canal. Do not listen to loud music through headphones or earphones.
  • Tell others about your hearing loss. You may have trouble hearing another person speak during a conversation. Ask him to face you when he speaks so you can see his lips move. Ask him to speak in a normal tone and volume. Spend time with others in places where you can hear more easily.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to have your hearing checked regularly. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Ā© Copyright IBM Corporation 2021 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes. All illustrations and images included in CareNotesĀ® are the copyrighted property of A.D.A.M., Inc. or IBM Watson Health

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.