December 10, 2015
A new prosthesis for a traditional ear surgery is bringing hope to patients diagnosed with a hereditary disorder that causes hearing loss. After 63-year-old Diane Duncan was diagnosed with otosclerosis in her thirties, she transitioned into an isolated world where conversations with other people became limited, everyday noises like car engines running and cell phones ringing became almost inaudible.
Diane has conductive hearing loss - a type of condition where the ear drum and the bones in the middle of the ear (including the stapes bone) don't vibrate properly. The most common form to affect adults is known as otosclerosis. Patients with otosclerosis have abnormal bone growth around the stapes bone. The stapes bone must move freely for the ear to work properly and for a person to hear well.
Typically doctors perform a stapedectomy to treat the condition. It involves removing part or all of the immobilized stapes bone and replacing it with a prosthetic device. The prosthetic device allows the bones in the middle ear to resume movement, which stimulates fluid in the inner ear, and improves or restores hearing.