Is surgery a good option for otosclerosis?
Q: I have been diagnosed as having otosclerosis - a problem where the third bone stapes is completely immobile. After consulting many specialists, I came to the conclusion that if not operated, it is not harmful as the hearing loss remains the same for years. Is this true? Many doctors say it is a major and complex surgery and a person could possibly be 100% deaf if the surgery is unsuccessful. Is this true? Why are doctors not suggesting operation in both ears? What are the pros and cons of the surgery? I met many other patients with similar problem who are better with hearing aids in both ears. What is your opinion on using hearing aids as compared to surgery?
A:You did not mention the hearing loss. Maximum it can go upto is 60 db of conductive loss and in some cases, sensory hearing can also get affected. The risk of surgery in good hands is almost negligible but you can expect good hearing improvement in 90% of cases, no improvement in 5% of cases and deterioration of hearing in 5% of cases of which 1-2% may be complete hearing loss. Surgery is done in only one ear because of the risks of surgery, the progressive nature of the disease and to save the other ear for hearing aid benefit. If patient's hearing in the operated ear is all right after 5 years of surgery, one can go for surgery in the opposite ear. This is a routine surgery done under local anaesthesia. Second option is using a hearing aid.