To clarify the mechanism underlying ear fullness in otosclerosis, we studied the relationship between clinical features and examinations. Subjects were 116 otosclerosis patients (140 ears). The presence or absence of ear fullness was judged from a questionnaire in initial diagnosis or a chart description. Ear fullness was observed in 44 ears (31%) and absent in 96. The averaged air and bone conduction hearing levels (500 Hz-4 k Hz) in initial diagnosis were significantly lower in the group with ear fullness. The difference in averaged hearing was mainly apparent at 2 k Hz and 4 k Hz. The difference in hearing at lower frequencies (125 Hz, 250 Hz, and 500 Hz) and higher frequencies (2 k Hz, 4 k Hz, and 8 k Hz) was significantly larger in the group of ear fullness. From these results, we postulated that ear fullness in otosclerosis is caused by fixation of the stapes. The psychoacoustic abnormal sensation caused by lower input of lower-frequency sound or incomplete fixation of the stapes may cause ear fullness. Further study is needed to clarify the pathogenesis of ear fullness in different ear pathologies.
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