When you have been struggling with your hearing for as long as you can remember, you may have also wondered if there would ever come a time that you would understand why you have hearing loss and difficulties. Finally receiving a diagnosis of otosclerosis, a middle and inner ear condition in which the tiny bones inside of your ear that should be mobile are fixed (stuck in place), can be simultaneously a relief and a source of frustration. You know what you have but may still be unsure of your treatment options. Get to know some of the available treatments for your otosclerosis so you can decide what your next move will be.
Hearing Loss Management
Sometimes, patients prefer not to go through any invasive treatments for their hearing loss due to otosclerosis. In such instances, the best option for hearing loss management is to wear hearing aids for as long as they will help keep the person able to hear the world around them. These hearing aids will need to be updated if the condition progresses and may not always be useful, depending on how profound the hearing loss is.
There are surgeries that can be used to treat otosclerosis. The main surgical procedure used is known as a stapedectomy. Considered a minimally invasive procedure, you ear surgeon can actually go through the ear canal to perform it. Stapedectomies can also be performed as a laser surgery. Laser stapedectomies tend to have faster healing times and less bleeding because the laser stops bleeding as the surgery is performed.
A stapedectomy is a procedure that is designed to remove the stapes bone (one of the tiny bones in your middle ear) from its stationary position. In healthy ears, the stapes bone is one of three ossicles (the other two being the incus and malleus) that vibrate when sound waves hit them. However, if the stapes bone is stationary, hearing is affected and it likely blocks the movement of the other two ossicles as well.
By removing the stapes bone and detaching it from the other two ossicles, your remaining two ossicles can move as they should. The stapedectomy also involves implanting an artificial stapes bone in the ear to keep it structurally sound and functional.
Another surgical option is known as cochlear implants, which are devices implanted in the brain to electronically process sounds through the implant to be then converted to signals the brain can convert to sound. This is effective in many patients with otosclerosis who may not be ideal candidates for a stapedectomy or who prefer a different treatment approach.
Now that you know some of the options available to you for your otosclerosis, you can better determine what course of action you want to take to help with your hearing loss. If you're thinking of getting laser surgery for your otosclerosis, consider contacting local specialists, such as Eastern Carolina Ear Nose & Throat-Head, to discuss your concerns.