Understanding Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Have you experienced instances where you suddenly lose your sense of hearing? If yes, you might be suffering from sensorineural hearing loss.

What Is It?

Sensorineural hearing loss refers to the diminishment of one’s ability to hear due to damages in the inner ear (particularly the cochlea’s hair cells) or in the neural pathways that connect it to the brain. It can develop right away or after a couple of days, ranging from temporary to permanent, and it can affect one to both ears. As the most common form of hearing loss, it is usually acquired by adults around thirty to sixty years old, although it can be experienced at any age.

Along with weakened hearing acuity, those who are under the effects of sensorineural hearing loss usually report the onset of tinnitus, or a ringing in one’s ears, as well as vertigo and a feeling of fullness.

What Are Its Causes?

There are a lot of possible causes for sensorineural hearing loss, but they are generally understood to fall under two categories: congenital and acquired hearing loss.

Congenital hearing loss is a hearing impairment that surfaces in newborn babies. This is due to genetic inheritance or an abnormality in the development of the fetus brought about by maternal rubella, or more commonly known as German Measles.

On the other hand, acquired hearing loss develops after birth. It is caused by a lot of factors such as aging, head trauma, constant exposure to loud noises, Meniere’s disease, autoimmune diseases, tumors, and Ototoxic drugs or medications that are harmful to our hearing.

How Is It Diagnosed and Treated?

Hearing tests are usually conducted to diagnose a person with sensorineural hearing loss. Ear doctors primarily check if the impairment is caused by a blockage due to earwax buildup or by a malfunction in the inner parts of the ears. Once the patient is diagnosed, more tests are taken to uncover underlying causes and to rule out life-threatening ones such as circulation problems or cancer.

In most cases, sensorineural hearing loss is untreatable. There have been a number of pharmacological remedies used throughout the years such as antiviral medications, corticosteroids, vasodilators, and carbon therapy, although none are clinically proven. Moreover, such medications are used chiefly as painkillers to help address the underlying causes, if there are any.

Hearing aids are typically prescribed for mild cases. However, it will not work as well for severe hearing loss as hearing aids only amplify sound. It cannot clarify the distorted hearing that characterizes the higher degrees of hearing loss. For an impairment of profound degrees, cochlear implants are recommended instead.

If you feel the symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss, it is best not to delay and seek help right away. Contact your local hearing specialists, Beltone DFW, at (888) 958-8432 for professional advice and assistance.