In most cases the deafness caused by otosclerosis is what is called a conductive deafness. This is where the inner ear is working fine but there is a failure of the sound waves being conducted to the inner ear. Otosclerosis is only one of the causes for a conductive hearing loss.
It can also be caused by:
- anything that blocks the ear canal eg wax
- a hole in the ear drum (perforation)
- fluid in the middle ear (glue ear)
Occasionally otosclerosis can also damage the functioning of the inner ear and cause a sensorineural deafness. This is where the fault is not in the conduction of sound to the inner ear but rather a failure of the inner ear to convert the sound waves into nerve impulses.
Possible causes of hearing loss
If you are experiencing difficulty with hearing the first step is to have a hearing test (audiogram). This can be organised by seeing your GP and being referred to your local hospital or attending a hearing aid centre. Be aware that hearing aid centres will want to try and sell you a hearing aid. Always ask for a copy of your hearing test to take away and make sure that the audiologist tests both air and bone conduction since this is the only way to find out if your hearing loss is conductive or sensorineural (see above).
Remember – hearing difficulties are common – you are not the only one – and there are always things that can be done to help.