Otosclerosis is the immobilization of the stapes bone (occurs slowly). Perception of hearing loss is so slow that many people with otosclerosis only become aware of their hearing loss when friends or relatives call it to their attention. Very rarely does otosclerosis cause deafness.
Hearing loss in otosclerosis may be in one, or both ears. When the hearing loss is in both ears, its effects on daily communication are significant. The first sign of a hearing loss can occur when a person finds themselves requesting that others repeat themselves, or noting hearing difficulty when people’s faces are turned away. Noises in the ear usually accompany otosclerosis. The sensation of background noises in the ear, even in the quiet, is called, tinnitus. In otosclerosis, tinnitus may be a broad band hissing sound, discreet tones, or pulses. Also, the nerve of hearing is sometimes effected by otosclerosis. The tinnitus may be worse in this case. Tinnitus will go away in about half the cases of otosclerosis, when treated surgically. It is uncommon for the tinnitus to worsen after surgery.