by EBSCO Medical Review Board


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
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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 your symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the ears. Your hearing will be tested.

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. Choices 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. Choices 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.


American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 

American Speech-Language-Hearing Association 


Canadian Society of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery 

The College of Family Physicians of Canada 


Juliano AF, Ginat DT, et al. Imaging Review of the Temporal Bone: Part II. Traumatic, Postoperative, and Noninflammatory Nonneoplastic Conditions. Radiology. 2015 Sep;276(3):655-672.

Otosclerosis. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: Accessed March 12, 2021.

Otosclerosis. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) website. Available at: Accessed March 12, 2021.

What you should know about otosclerosis. American Academy of Otolaryngology—Head and Neck Surgery website. Available at: Accessed March 12, 2021.

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