Otosclerosis is a relatively rare middle ear condition that results in progressive hearing loss and, frequently, ringing or roaring in the ear (tinnitus). The condition usually affects one ear alone, but progresses to the opposite ear in most patients over time.

Patients with otosclerosis have normal hearing nerve function. Sound energy is prevented from conducting through the three hearing bones to the normal hearing nerve by abnormal calcium deposition on the innermost hearing bone (the stapes). As more calcium is laid down, hearing worsens.

Diagnosis of otosclerosis is based on a careful history of the patient's hearing loss, the patient's family history of hearing loss, careful hearing testing, special testing of eardrum mobility and special sound reflexes, combined with a thorough physical examination of the ear by Dr. Shea III.

Surgical treatment for otosclerosis involves a one hour operation, performed under general anesthesia, as a same-day procedure (i.e., arrive in the morning, go home the same afternoon). The diseased hearing bone (stapes) is removed using a laser. An artificial hearing bone is placed over a small graft (of vein from the hand) to replace the stapes. Hearing recovery is dramatic and permanent.

Dr. John J. Shea III spent a full year at the world-renowned House Ear Institute in Los Angeles as a Clinical Fellow specifically to master this and other highly specialized ear procedures.

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