Total or partial hearing loss is what complicates communication considerably, and makes a person feel handicapped. One-side or bilateral otosclerosis is a common reason for loss of hearing, and though this disease is complicated, it can be treated by various means.
As we know an ear consists of three parts: inner ear, middle ear, and external ear. Damage or defects of these parts make up for hearing impairment. Otosclerosis is hardening in the ear of the bones in the middle area. Sometimes hardening spreads to the inner ear and the stapes – combination of impairments is typical of this disease.
First and foremost, a telltale sign of the disease is loss of hearing. Affected people may even be unaware about it, being notified only by friends and family who find it hard to communicate normally. A person suffering from otosclerosis conductive hearing loss may unwittingly start reading lips when talking to people – that helps to compensate loss of information. What else accompanies the disease?
If only one ear is affected, a person may ignore the problem and just adapt to peculiarities of hearing. However, it does not seem to be a reasonable choice: hearing may be still disturbed by blockage of another ear with wax or water. Generally, there is no medication that can decrease the symptoms of disease or cure it. Sometimes, food supplements with fluoride are prescribed to slow down or stop the process of hearing loss. However, their intake has some side-effects, such as digestion disorders, allergy and skin itching, and pains in joints.
If a patient is not a subject to operation, or does not want to go through it, he or she may try hearing aids for otosclerosis. This is a good alternative that can make everyday communication simple again. It can also be installed together with temporal bone implant.
This is the most reliable and effective method for treatment of otosclerosis. It is recommended for people with one-side hearing impairment, and necessary for those who face bilateral hearing loss. There are two basic types of surgeries.
This procedure is preferable in many cases, and allows correcting early stages of otosclerosis. During such operation, sclerotic stape footstep is cut out and replaced with an implant, what brings improvement of hearing, at least temporary. Usually, it is made under local anesthesia, and it requires a short period of hospitalization. With this operation, sound transmission from eardrum to the inner ear becomes possible again. About 90% of operations bring permanent relief. However, people with conductive hearing loss are likely to experience recurrence.
This is a more advanced and modern variant of the mentioned operation. During this procedure, a small hole is drilled in the stapes footplate by a micro-laser, and a piston-like prosthesis is placed instead. The success of the procedure depends mostly on doctor’s skills, and it is preferred under normal conditions.
Recovery after surgery is minimal: a person may get back home the same or next day after operation. A person may get back to work in a week, travel by car soon after, and by air – in two weeks.
People who underwent operation may face various complications or side effects. First, further hearing impairment takes place in 2% of cases as the result of infection, scar, spasms of blood vessels, etc. Tinnitus, dizziness, face weakness and eardrum perforation are among the rest side effects.
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