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Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Causes and Treatment Options

What is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

Also referred to as noise-induced hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damaged or destroyed hair cells in the inner ear that no longer transfer sound information to the brain. Hearing loss of this sort is often caused by prolonged exposure to very loud noise, though auditory pathways (or hair cells that transfer sound) in the brain are sometimes abnormal at birth, resulting in some level of hearing loss. Deafness genes, trauma, or infections may cause these abnormalities.

Potential Causes:

Most often, sensorineural hearing loss is cumulative and occurs slowly. Prolonged exposure to very loud noise is likely to cause a hearing loss later in life. Typically, sensorineural hearing loss reduces the ability to hear faint sounds or causes speech to sound faint or muffled, which results in the need for sound amplification.

Treatment Options:

Sensorineural hearing loss can rarely be corrected medically or surgically, so hearing aids are the primary solution. Correctly fitted hearing aids amplify tones based on an individual’s unique sound deficiencies. In most cases, total communication is greatly improved through the addition of hearing aids. If hearing loss is severe, a cochlear implant may be recommended.

Prevention:

Since sensorineural hearing loss is typically caused by exposure to loud noises, we highly recommend the use of ear protection if you find yourself around loud noises frequently.

Learn about the other types of hearing loss:

If you have any questions about sensorineural hearing loss or hearing loss in general, please contact one of our locations to speak with an audiologist.