Sudden or prolonged hearing loss may be a result of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), which occurs when nerves are damaged within the ear.
Experiencing sensorineural hearing loss may be inevitable because of your genes, or it may be the cause of environmental factors. “Sensorineural hearing loss can be genetic, however, there are many causes for a sensorineural hearing loss. Causes include aging, noise exposure, diseases, infections, head trauma, and medications,” Regina Presley, AuD, FAAA, CCC/A, Senior Cochlear Implant Audiologist from The Presbyterian Board of Governors Cochlear Implant Center of Excellence at Greater Baltimore Medical Center, tells WebMD Connect to Care.
If you suspect that sensorineural hearing loss may be happening to you, here are some things you should know:
Symptoms of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
Sensorineural hearing loss primarily affects the inner ear and nerves within it. Knowing the symptoms associated with this type of hearing loss can keep you informed about what to look out for. Many times, the first symptom patients experience is dizziness or ringing in the ear.
According to Presley, symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss can include:
- Asking for repetition
- Difficulty on the telephone
- Trouble following conversations, especially in a noisy environment
- Withdrawing from social situations because of difficulty hearing others
Treatments and Solutions That Can Help
Unfortunately, sensorineural hearing loss is usually a permanent condition since it’s the result of nerve damage to the inner ear. But, there are several treatment options that can ease symptoms and help you regain some of your hearing capabilities.
If you are looking to seek treatment for sensorineural hearing loss, it’s good to know what to expect at your appointment. “An audiologist will complete a test to determine the softest sounds you can hear at a variety of pitches as well as your ability to understand speech. You may also have a test of eardrum mobility and a test to see how the muscle reflexes in your ear are working — these protect us from loud sounds,” Presley says.
The amount of hearing loss tested by an audiologist will determine the best course of treatment. According to MedlinePlus, treatment options for sensorineural hearing loss can include:
- Monitoring of performance
- Hearing AIDS
- Cochlear implants
- Telephone amplifiers and other assistive devices
- Safety and alert systems for your home
- Learning sign language and/or how to read lips
Start Your Journey To Better Hearing Today
In many cases, hearing loss is a treatable condition. It is worth taking the time out to get the answers and treatment you deserve. Don’t wait. Start today.