Sensorineural hearing loss is a common type of permanent hearing loss that affects the inner ear.
It may be caused by exposure to loud noises, genetic factors, or the natural aging process. SNHL can affect one or both ears and can occur at any age.
If you have sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), there are many ways to help you hear better. Hearing aids are devices worn in or behind your ears that amplify sounds for people with mild to moderate losses in their ability to hear high-pitched sounds (such as women’s voices).
Other devices include cochlear implants, which provide electrical stimulation directly into the auditory nerve; bone-anchored hearing aids; and middle ear implantable loop systems, which fit inside the ear canal like an eyeglass lens and use magnets on either side of the head behind each ear.
These magnetic coils pick up sound vibrations from a microphone placed near your mouth and send them through a wire coil around your head into your inner ear where they stimulate nerve endings leading to improved understanding of speech when listening in noise environments such as restaurants or group discussions.
The Deal with Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Hearing loss is a natural part of aging but it doesn’t have to be debilitating. There are many types and degrees of hearing loss, from mild to complete. What degree you will need depends on the level of damage your hearing has incurred over time. SNHL can range from mild hearing loss to complete hearing loss depending on the degree of damage.
SNHL isn’t a life-threatening condition, but if not properly managed, it can interfere with your ability to communicate effectively. Keep reading for information about what causes SNHL; how you can prevent it; and treatment options if you’re currently dealing with this issue.
What is the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss?
Did you know that the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss is damage to the tiny hair cells in the inner ear or damage to the nerve pathways that line the inner ear to your brain?
The good news is, there are many things you can do right now to protect and preserve your hearing. For example, wearing protective gear when at work or play (i.e., a helmet) may reduce risk for noise-induced hearing loss. You can also take steps like avoiding loud noises whenever possible.
Types of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.
Bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, also known as single-sided deafness or functional deafness, refers to a profound and permanent hearing loss present in both ears. One can experience binaural sensorineural hearing loss as the individual will need to come closer to the sound source than usual for them to hear sounds from that ear alone; thus they must turn their head towards it.
Unilateral sensorineural hearing loss
At first, the loss of hearing may seem like a small thing. All you have to do is turn your head in that direction and face them more often. As time goes by, it becomes harder to enjoy conversation with friends and loved ones because they become frustrated with trying to communicate without yelling or looking directly at your crooked posture.
Asymmetrical sensorineural hearing loss
Asymmetrical SNHL can be frustrating, but it’s also very common. This type of hearing loss can be caused by long-term exposure to noise, aging, or head trauma. The two key symptoms are difficulty understanding speech in a noisy room and trouble differentiating words from one another while listening alone at home or even with background noise.
Conductive vs. sensorineural hearing loss
Conductive hearing loss occurs when sound cannot travel through your outer or middle ear. This can happen because of damage to the auditory nerve, structures in the inner ear, or anything that blocks sound from passing through. Some things that cause conductive hearing loss are damaged eardrums and wax build-up in your canal.
Meanwhile, sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to your auditory nerve or the structures of your inner ear. This type of hearing loss leads to problems converting sound vibrations into neural signals that the brain can interpret.
How does sensorineural hearing loss affect hearing?
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) happens when the inner ear or the nerve pathways from your inner ear to your brain are damaged. It can make it hard to hear soft sounds and even louder ones, too. You may have trouble understanding people talking in a group, for example. Or you might not be able to hear what’s going on at school or work if there’s background noise like music or other voices. Your family members and friends will probably notice that you seem quieter than usual and ask if something is wrong with your hearing.
What is the best treatment for sensorineural hearing loss?
Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of hearing loss, but many people don’t know that it’s not treated with any kind of hearing aid. You might think you can treat sensorineural hearing loss with a cheap pair of earbuds, or even an expensive pair of high-end audiophile headphones, but in both cases you’d be wrong.
In order to get better results and improve your quality of life when dealing with this condition, you need specialized treatment for SNHL like custom made programmable digital hearing aids. If you are in Fort Wayne, Indiana and are suffering from sensorineural hearing loss, visit us at HearCare Audiology so we can help you with your current hearing situation.
One of the most important steps in treating sensorineural hearing loss is proper hearing aid testing and fitting. If you feel that you may have a severe or profound hearing loss, it’s best to see an audiologist as soon as possible.
Can sensorineural hearing loss be corrected?
Unfortunately, sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and the damages are irreversible. Not even surgery can repair the sensory hair cells BUT there is a surgery that can bypass the damaged cells, facilitating better hearing.
Sad to say, some people’s hearing may be permanently affected by illnesses like Ménière’s disease or other inner-ear conditions such as otosclerosis. Surgery for these diseases has been shown to offer relief from symptoms of tinnitus and hypersensitivity to sound; however this surgical procedure only provides temporary relief.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss Treatment, Fort Wayne Indiana
Hearing loss is a common condition that affects the quality of life for many people. Proper hearing aid testing and fitting can help to improve the sound of speech and other sounds, which will allow them to enjoy their lives more fully. If you are just realizing that your hearing may be worsening, or if you feel like something is off with your hearing, contact an audiologist right away so they can determine what’s best for you. There are several different types of treatment including surgery and medication depending on how severe or profound your symptoms are.
If you are experiencing difficulty understanding speech in noisy environments and/or notice that people mumble when they speak to you, then it’s time for a consultation with one of our audiologists at HearCare Audiology Indiana.
We can help determine if you have SNHL and what treatment options are available for this type of hearing impairment.
Contact us today to book a consultation!