Did you know that there are different types of hearing loss? Let’s take a closer look at sensorineural hearing loss, including what it is, what causes it and how to treat it.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss is The Most Common Type of Hearing Loss
According to the National Library of Medicine, “Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is the most common type and accounts for the majority of all hearing loss. SNHL refers to any cause of hearing loss due to a pathology of the cochlea, auditory nerve, or central nervous system.”
In other words, SNHL occurs when the hair cells of the inner ear or the auditory nerve are damaged.
Common Causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Many different factors can cause sensorineural hearing loss, with aging and exposure to loud noise being the two most common. Other causes can include:
- Viral illness
- Certain autoimmune conditions
- Ototoxic medications like some antibiotics or pain relievers
- Head or ear trauma
- Conditions like heart disease, which can disrupt blood flow to the ear
Can It Be Prevented?
Preventing SNHL is not always possible, especially when it is caused by illness, injury or aging. However, there are steps you can take to help protect your ears and reduce your risk, including:
- Avoiding loud environments whenever possible and wearing proper hearing protection when they can’t be avoided.
- Taking steps to prevent or manage conditions like heart disease or diabetes. This can include eating healthy, getting regular exercise, taking any medications as prescribed by your doctor and having regular check-ups.
- Asking your doctor about any medications you take to see if they have the potential to harm your hearing.
Treating Sensorineural Hearing Loss
In almost all cases, sensorineural hearing loss is permanent. The only exception to that is something called sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL), where hearing loss comes on either immediately or within a matter of days. Prompt medical treatment with corticosteroids can restore hearing to normal in some cases. In others, it becomes permanent.
All other cases of sensorineural hearing loss cannot be reversed but can be treated with hearing aids or, in more profound cases, cochlear implants. Once diagnosed, your audiologist will work with you to figure out what option is best for you.
Should I Schedule a Hearing Test?
SNHL often comes on gradually, and people can miss the early signs. However, if it seems like people are often mumbling or that you’re struggling to follow conversations at work or when out with friends at The Arvada Tavern, don’t ignore it. Instead, call the experts at Advantage ENT & Audiology and schedule an appointment for a hearing test.