Sensorineural Hearing Loss
What are the causes, treatment options, and how can it be prevented?
Sensorineural hearing loss refers to any reduction in hearing sensitivity or sound clarity that is caused by damage to the delicate structures of the inner ear or the nerve pathways that carry the sound signal from the inner ear to the auditory-processing area of the brain. Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common of the types of hearing loss and affects 28 million Americans.
Sensorineural hearing loss is usually cumulative and occurs slowly. Exposure to very loud noise is the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss, followed by aging (presbycusis). Certain medications and health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease are also known causes of sensorineural hearing loss.
Hearing aids are the primary treatment for sensorineural hearing loss as medical or surgical intervention is rarely possible. Correctly fit hearing aids stimulate the affected nerves in the inner ear and fill in the Sound Voids that most sufferers experience. Today’s hearing aid technology can even address “high-frequency” sensorineural hearing losses that were once thought to be untreatable. If hearing loss is severe, a cochlear implant may be recommended.
Since sensorineural hearing loss is often caused by exposure to loud noises, we highly recommend the use of hearing protection if you find yourself around loud noises frequently. If you are diabetic, keep your blood glucose levels well controlled. A healthy diet and regular exercise are a must to prevent the onset of heart disease and other medical problems that are also identified with hearing loss. A healthy lifestyle, excellent nutrition, and the use of well-fit hearing protection will help you hear for life.