Otosclerosis – General Recommendations
Otosclerosis is a problem of increased bone growth in the inner ear, involving most commonly the stapes, one of the three delicate small bones that help transmit sound waves to the auditory nerve. With increased calcification, the stapes loses their agility, sound waves can’t be efficiently transmitted, and decreased hearing follows. In advanced cases, calcification can spread to involve the other bones, with worsening of hearing. Researchers really don’t know what causes otosclerosis to develop but have found that surgery on the inner ear to remove excess calcium deposits can be helpful.
In my opinion, otosclerosis is clearly a problem in calcium metabolism, with too much of the mineral deposited in the wrong place. In my patients diagnosed with this problem, I often find a vitamin D deficiency, and with proper supplementation hearing improves substantially. Recent evidence does confirm that vitamin D at times helps with hearing problems, perhaps because of its role in helping the body metabolize and use calcium appropriately. With deficiency of the nutrient, calcium can be deposited abnormally and in abnormal amounts in various tissues of the body, including the inner ear. Keep in mind that our hearing receptors in the ear actually require calcium to generate nerve impulses, so calcium balance in the inner ear is of great significance.
For detailed information on vitamin D and calcium metabolism, I refer you to read my article about Osteoporosis.
By Nicholas Gonzalez, M.D.