Understanding Sensorineural Hearing Loss: An Overview

man covering ears

Sensorineural hearing loss is damage to either the tiny hair cells in your inner ear. It usually affects both ears at the same time. Its effects on the body can be mild, moderate, severe, or something much worse, depending on your condition. When this happens, you need to visit your nearest hearing clinic. Unless you want to experience it for yourself, you should know how this condition develops.

What Are the Primary Causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

1. Acquired Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The most common cause of acquired sensorineural hearing loss is exposure to loud noise. Noise-induced hearing loss is a frequent occupational hazard for construction workers, instrument repairers, and factory workers.

Aging can also be a cause of sensorineural hearing loss. Over time, the tiny hair cells in your ears can begin to break down as you grow older, a process known as presbycusis.

Another cause of acquired Sensorineural Hearing Loss is infections and diseases. Roughly a quarter of the population has been exposed to viral or bacterial infections that can cause hearing loss or balance problems, including meningitis, measles, influenza, and mumps.

Diseases that can cause hearing loss include diabetes, kidney failure, lupus, multiple sclerosis, and some forms of cancer.

Besides internal diseases, physical injuries like head traumas can also be a cause for acquired Sensorineural Hearing Loss. Traumas sustained as a child, such as a playground injury, can result in permanent hearing loss.

Certain medications can contribute to your hearing loss. Certain drugs can damage the tiny hair cells in the inner ear, especially those containing quinine. Other medications, such as antibiotics, can damage the balance organs in your inner ear, leading to hearing loss. 

2. Congenital Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Congenital sensorineural hearing loss is any hearing loss that is present from birth. Sensorineural hearing loss caused by genetics is hereditary hearing loss and can be due to a single gene or multiple genes. It affects about 1 out of every 1,000 people.

Congenital sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by the mother using certain medications while pregnant. Infections that occur during pregnancy can also lead to hearing loss. Rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes, and toxoplasmosis are examples of viruses that can cause sensorineural hearing loss.

How Does Sensorineural Hearing Loss Affect the Way You Hear?

The human ear is designed to hear both high-pitched and low-pitched sounds. Sounds above 4,000 hertz are known as high-pitched sounds, while sounds below 4,000 hertz are called low-pitched sounds.

If the tiny hair cells in your inner ear begin to deteriorate and die, your ability to hear high-pitched and low-pitched sounds will be affected.

The effects of sensorineural hearing loss on the body are often most noticeable during face-to-face conversations. If a hearing loss happens in both ears, you may find that folks speak more slowly, enunciate clearly, and repeat themselves more often than those with normal hearing. 

How Can Sensorineural Hearing Loss Be Treated?

There are many ways to treat sensorineural hearing loss. If you have just been diagnosed with hearing loss, you will likely be referred to an audiologist for testing and counselling. 

Hearing aids are the first treatment option to consider. If you’ve been exposed to loud noises, a hearing aid is your best bet, as it can help protect your hearing. If you’ve started to experience a decline in your hearing, they can also help you.

Conclusion

Hearing loss is a severe health problem. It can have a profound impact on your ability to interact with friends, family, and members of the community. For this reason, you should get yourself checked through routine check-ups to monitor your ear’s health.

When it comes to protecting your ears, Fraser Valley Beltone is here to assist you. If you feel like you may be experiencing any hearing loss, including sensorineural hearing loss, schedule an appointment with an audiologist and visit your nearest hearing aid clinic in Abbotsford today.

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