Third-generation bisphosphonates for treatment of sensorineural hearing loss in otosclerosis

Otol Neurotol. 2012 Oct;33(8):1308-14. doi: 10.1097/MAO.0b013e318268d1b3.


Objective: To evaluate hearing outcomes in patients treated with third generation bisphosphonates for otosclerosis-related sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL).

Hypothesis: Otosclerosis is a disease of abnormal bone remodeling in the otic capsule. In recent years, third generation bisphosphonates, with more powerful anti-resorptive properties and increased bone affinity, have demonstrated effectiveness in the treatment of osteoporosis and other metabolic bone diseases. We hypothesized that newer generation bisphosphonates, such as risedronate and zoledronate, would be effective in slowing the progression of SNHL in patients with otosclerosis.

Study design: Retrospective review.

Setting: Tertiary referral center, ambulatory care.

Interventions: Risedronate or zoledronate administration.

Main outcome measures: Bone conduction pure tone threshold averages (PTAs) and word recognition (WR) scores were examined for each ear before and after bisphosphonate treatment. Criteria for significant change were defined as greater than 10 decibels in PTA or between 4% and 18% in WR based on binomial variance.

Results: All 10 patients had audiometric progression of SNHL in the pretreatment monitoring interval and 12 ears met criteria for significant progression. All 10 patients (19 ears) showed at least no significant progression of SNHL (i.e., stabilization) at an average follow-up of 13 months. Two patients (3 ears) showed improvement by defined audiometric criteria. There were no major complications.

Conclusion: Treatment with zoledronate or risedronate stabilized progressive SNHL related to otosclerosis in this small group of patients. Further evaluation of third-generation bisphosphonate treatments is warranted.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Audiometry, Pure-Tone
  • Auditory Threshold / physiology
  • Bone Conduction / physiology
  • Bone Density Conservation Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Diphosphonates / therapeutic use*
  • Etidronic Acid / analogs & derivatives
  • Etidronic Acid / therapeutic use
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / drug therapy*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Imidazoles / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Otosclerosis / complications*
  • Otosclerosis / drug therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Risedronic Acid
  • Speech Perception
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Zoledronic Acid


  • Bone Density Conservation Agents
  • Diphosphonates
  • Imidazoles
  • Zoledronic Acid
  • Risedronic Acid
  • Etidronic Acid