Throughout your life, your bones are in a constant state of remodeling. Remodeling refers to the process of new bone gradually replacing old bone. Continued remodeling means that most of the adult skeleton is replaced approximately every 10 years. Otosclerosis is a condition that occurs when the new bone formed during the remodeling process grows abnormally and interferes with the hearing process.
The process of hearing involves several steps. Take, for instance, a conversation with a friend at Classic Bean. When your friend speaks to you, the sounds create vibrations in the air. The vibrations create sound waves that travel into the outer ear, the ear canal and the eardrum. The sound waves vibrate the eardrum. Eardrum vibrations travel through the middle ear, where they are amplified by the stapes, malleus and incus bones. The amplified vibrations ripple through the cochlea fluid, causing its tiny hair cells to move. The moving hair cells send electrical signals to the auditory center of the brain, resulting in the perception of sound.
When abnormally remodeled bone blocks the transmission of sound beyond the middle ear, it leads to hearing loss. Fortunately, hearing aids offer an excellent treatment option for people with otosclerosis.
How Do Hearing Aids Help?
While hearing aids cannot stop the progression of otosclerosis, they can collect and amplify sound, including speech and other noises, to improve hearing.
What Is the Acclimation Period?
It may take a few weeks to adapt to wearing hearing aids. Many people find the constant presence of the devices in their ears, along with the new amplified sounds, to be irritating at first. Luckily, as you wear your new devices, irritation will be replaced with enjoyment of their many benefits, including ease of communication, tinnitus management, improved balance and more.
Detecting hearing loss early can help expedite the path to treatment. Some common signs of hearing loss include struggling to hear high-pitched sounds, needing to increase the volume of the TV or radio, avoiding social situations due to concerns about understanding others, misunderstanding words or phrases in conversation and relying on turning your head to one side to hear better. Monitoring these signs and seeking early treatment can minimize the impact of otosclerosis on your daily life.
To learn more about starting treatment, contact Topeka Ear Nose & Throat to schedule an appointment with one of our specialists.