Health

Introduction to Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Humans are blessed with the sense of hearing. We can understand and communicate with one another just due to the courtesy of a hearing. There is a very complex system involving the ears that differentiate sound and provide us the ability to understand different sounds. The machinery supplied in your ears effectively provides normal physiological conditions.

However, some disorders are also related to hearing. This happens due to different causes and disturbances and even loss of the primary sensation of hearing.

One of these disorders is sensorineural hearing loss, which is somehow unique to typical hearing loss. We shall have a brief look at this condition in today’s article.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss


This is a type of disorder for your ear, causing hearing loss and may occur due to damage to your inner ear structures or auditory nerves.

It is considered the most common cause of hearing loss, accounting for up to 90 percent of hearing loss in adults. It is abbreviated as SNHL.

The most common reasons for SNHL are natural aging, genetic factors, or exposure to loud sound.

Our inner ear contains a spiral-shaped organ known as the cochlea. It is rich in many tiny hairs called stereocilia. The hairs are responsible for converting vibrations from sound waves into nerve impulses carried through your auditory nerves to the brain, which recognize the sound and intercept. Sound levels of more than 85 decibels are recognized as dangerous for these hairs.

Degree of Hearing Loss


SNHL are further categorized depending upon the extent of hearing loss due to the degree of damage.

  • Mild Hearing Loss.
  • Moderate Hearing Loss.
  • Severe Hearing Loss.

This disorder is not life-threatening but can disturb the usual lifestyle, and you may also lose your good communication ability.

Signs of Sensorineural Hearing Loss


SNHL can affect one or both ears, depending upon the extent of the damage. In most cases, onset is not observable and may require a hearing test. However, you may also experience sudden symptoms within days, representing sudden SNHL. Many people upon waking experience these symptoms.

SNHL can lead to the following conditions:

  • Trouble understanding children’s and female voices (due to the low pitch of their voice).
  • Tinnitus (ringing sensation in your ears).
  • Difficulty in the differentiation of sound when there is also background noise.
  • Trouble Hearing high-pitched voices.
  • Dizziness.
  • Feel like you can hear the voice but cannot recognize or understand.
  • Muffled hearing.
  • Stuffy sensation in your ear.

These are some common signs indicating Sensorineural Deafness.

Causes


Following are some potential causes of SNHL.

Loud Noises


As expressed earlier, a sound level over 85 decibels could potentially harm your ear and cause SNHL. Even one-time exposure can be harmful enough to cause permanent hearing loss.

Congenital


SNHL can be congenital, i.e., it may be present at the time of your birth. The frequency is roughly 1 to 3 babies out of 1000 babies to have SNHL.

Most genes are involved for SNHL to occur in a developing baby. Lack of oxygen supply or infection to the baby when it is in its mother’s womb may also cause SNHL.

Age-Related Hearing Loss


The other or medical name for age-related hearing loss is Presbycusis. People of the age group from 65 to 74 are mostly seen to have SNHL. It has been seen that almost one in two people over the age of 75 have SNHL.

Diagnosis


To confirm SNHL, doctors prescribe different tests to diagnose SNHL properly. Some generally used parameters to check SNHL by doctors are:

  • Physical Exam.
  • Audiogram.
  • Tuning Fork Check.

Treatment


SNHL does not have any surgical treatment at this age. However, using hearing aids can match specific hearing loss symptoms. In the future, gene therapy and cochlear implants are considered to be adopted.

Most commonly, corticosteroids are prescribed by the ENT doctor who can cure hearing loss caused by Sudden Sensorineural deafness.

Takeaway


SNHL seems not to be life-threatening but can effectively decrease the quality of life and become familiar over time. Therefore, expert guidance and routine checkups are highly advised. Visiting an otolaryngologist or ear, nose, or throat doctor (ENT) can help reduce problems affecting your ears. To consult the best Otolaryngologists, visit Marham.Pk.

Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

1-Is SNHL reversible?


In most cases, if the extent of damage is low or caused by mild acoustic trauma, SNHL can be reversed by taking measures advised by an otolaryngologist. However, its early diagnosis is highly required.

2-Does SNHL get worse over time?


Yes. It is observed in most cases, SNHL gets worse over the period. The main reason is long-term listening to noise.

3-Can ear problems affect the brain?


If some infection causes SNHL, it may spread to your brain and cause many problems, such as meningitis. However, if it may be due to other reasons, such as damage to the nerve, it may not be spreadable.

4-Can autoimmune disease cause SNHL?


Some autoimmune diseases can potentially affect the inner ear, triggering the risk of SNHL to occur.

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