Scientists at the Ear Institute at University College London in the UK have found that Otosclerosis can be caused by a fault in the SERPINF1 gene. Otosclerosis is a hereditary condition in the middle ear affecting 1 in 200 people resulting in conductive hearing loss.
“We have known for some time that otosclerosis can be inherited. Our discovery of the first otosclerosis gene is very significant as it tells us about the biological processes involved in the development of the condition,” Dr Sally Dawson, lead researcher at University College London said.
Otosclerosis is caused by abnormal bone growth in the middle ear, which will prevent the stapes in the middle ear from vibrating normally in response to sound. Symptoms may appear in the form of dizziness, balance problems (vertigo), hearing loss and tinnitus. Otosclerosis is often inherited.
If left untreated, hearing loss typically worsens progressively. People with Otosclerosis often start to lose their hearing in their twenties or thirties until late middle age when complete deafness occurs.
Treatment of Otosclerosis
Hearing aids often help people who are suffering from Otosclerosis. Since Otosclerosis is progressive, more powerful hearing aids may be needed as time goes by. Surgery may be needed to remove the affected middle ear bones and replace them with prosthetic devices.
The study was published by Oxford University Press.