Sensorineural Hearing Loss Explained

Whenever a sound wave strikes your ear, miniature nerve endings in your inner ear translate them into electric signals that your brain understands as sounds. Unfortunately, these nerve endings can be damaged, as can other structures in your inner ear, resulting in a condition known as sensorineural deafness.

Typically, sensorineural deafness doesn’t result in a complete inability to hear. In fact, in many cases only particular sounds become difficult to hear. A person suffering from sensorineural hearing loss make claim that certain sounds are actually too loud while other sounds are instinct and muffled. Noisy conditions can make it difficult for you to single out speech patterns. Tracking conversations may become difficult, particularly if two or more people are speaking, while men’s voices may sound sharper than women’s. Additional symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss are feelings of dizziness or tinnitus (ringing in the ears).

There is no single cause of sensorineural deafness that applies to all individuals. In some cases the individual has this problem from birth. Genetic problems can cause many forms of congenital sensorineural deafness, while in other cases infections passed from mother to infant are the real cause.

Sensorineural hearing loss that starts later life can have many different root causes. Acoustic trauma, exposure to an exceedingly loud noise, can cause this issue. The damage can also accumulate from continuous exposure to loud noises. This reason for sensorineural hearing loss is quite common among construction workers or musicians.

Many people don’t realize that a virus can lead to sudden, sensorineural hearing loss. Viruses such as meningitis, mumps and measles can all lead to this issue. Meniere’s Disease, a syndrome that causes vertigo, tinnitus and hearing loss, can also lead to fluctuating sensorineural hearing loss. Corticosteroids may prove helpful in these two cases.

Tumors can cause sensorineural hearing loss as can sudden changes in air pressure and head traumas. Other physical reasons for sensorineural hearing loss include the hereditary disorder otosclerosis where a bony growth in the inner ear interferes with hearing.

There is no doubt that sensorineural hearing loss can significantly decrease your quality of life, but there are ways to address it.

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