Otosclerosis is a disease that causes the bones inside the ear to become one solid mass, reports the American Hearing Research Foundation. The disease is usually inherited, and people who have one parent with the otosclerosis gene are 25 percent more likely to develop the disease.
Hearing occurs when sound waves stimulate the bones within the ear, causing them to vibrate and transmit messages via nerves to the brain, which then interprets the sound. Fluid contained in the ear also controls balance.
As the bones of the ears become fused together, they are unable to vibrate fully, which negatively affects hearing.
First Signs of Hearing Loss
The first symptoms of hearing loss from otosclerosis occur in patients between the ages of 10 and 30. The hearing loss is gradual and initially begins with being unable to hear low tones or whispers.
Quality of Hearing Loss
Most types of hearing loss worsen in noisy places, but the symptoms of otosclerosis are different; patients typically report being able to hear better in noisy environments rather than quiet ones.
Tinnitus or ringing in the ears is another common symptom of otosclerosis, and some people also experience dizziness and balance problems.