Sensorineural Hearing Loss Causes & Symptoms
What is sensorineural hearing loss?
There are two main kinds of hearing loss:
- Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is a condition characterized by issues with the sensory nerves in the inner ear.
- Conductive hearing loss is another common form of hearing loss, which is due to the inability to conduct sound waves along the route of the outer ear, eardrum, or middle ear.
When these two forms of hearing loss occur simultaneously, it is known as mixed hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common form of hearing loss, and occurs in almost a quarter of the population.
What are the causes of sensorineural hearing loss?
When hair cells in the cochlea, or the sensory hearing organ, are damaged or absent. This can occur in some or all of the hair cells. When the damage occurs only in a few hair cells, patients are often able to hear certain pitches but not all sounds. When these hair cells are entirely damaged or absent, the patient suffers severe hearing impairment or complete inability to hear.
What are the symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss?
The symptoms characteristic of sensorineural hearing loss include:
- Inability to hear
- Sounds that fade in and out
- Difficulty hearing certain pitches
- Fuzzy or muffled hearing
What are the risk factors for sensorineural hearing loss?
Risk factors that may increase the risk of developing sensorineural hearing loss include:
- Age (affects 1 in 7 people above age 65)
- Head trauma
- Ear surgery
- Infectious disease
- Certain medications
- Low birth weight
How is sensorineural hearing loss diagnosed?
The experienced doctors at New York ENT diagnose sensorineural hearing loss through audiometry, which is a test that can show significant hearing loss in a person, and can distinguish between conductive hearing loss and sudden sensorineural hearing loss. When an accurate diagnosis has been made by an ear, nose and throat specialist, patients are recommended a number of treatment options.
How is sensorineural hearing loss treated?
Those who suffer from sensorineural hearing loss may not be able to regain their full hearing capacity, even with treatment. However, there are remedies to improve hearing and surgical procedures that may recover some hearing. New York ENT doctors may recommend any of the following treatment options, depending on the severity of the condition and the individual:
- Hearing aid
- Surgical operation
If you are suffering from sensorineural hearing loss, the first step towards feeling better is to schedule an evaluation with an experienced ear, nose and throat doctor. Board certified physicians with New York ENT have extensive experience diagnosing and treating a wide variety of ear-related conditions. Fill out the form on this page or call our office at (212) 873-6168 to schedule an appointment today.