Otosclerosis is a disease of one of the tiny, innermost bones (the stapes) of the inner ear that vibrates and transmits sound from the middle to the inner ear, enabling us to hear. This often genetically-linked disease usually begins in the late twenties or thirties, is more common in women than men, and is bilateral (affects both ears) in half of patients. Otosclerosis causes gradual hearing loss and may also be associated with tinnitus (ringing in the ear) and ear fullness or pressure.
If hearing loss is mild or unilateral, otosclerosis may require only careful observation. More serious cases may need amplification in the form of a hearing aid. Another option is surgical removal of the stapes bone and its replacement with a prosthesis (a procedure known as a stapedectomy).