Whenever a sound wave strikes your ear, miniature nerve endings in your inner ear convert them into electric signals that your brain comprehends as sounds. However, these nerve endings can be damaged, as can other structures in your inner ear, leading to a condition known as sensorineural deafness.
In most cases, sensorineural hearing loss doesn’t lead to a complete inability to hear. Instead, it lowers the person’s ability to hear certain sounds. An individual affected by sensorineural hearing loss make report that some sounds are actually too loud while other sounds are muffled and indistinct. Discerning speech patterns becomes especially difficult, especially when listening in a noisy location. Men’s voices often sound more clear than higher-pitched women’s voices and following conversations with several speakers is particularly challenging. People with sensorineural hearing loss may also find themselves feeling dizzy or experiencing ringing in the ears.
There are many different causes of sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss may be present at birth for some people. Congenital sensorineural deafness can be caused by genetic syndromes, as well as by infections that can pass from mother to infant..
Sensorineural hearing loss that begins later life can have many different root causes. Acoustic trauma, contact with an exceedingly loud noise, can lead to this issue. Steady exposure to lower level noise, such as listening to loud music or working with noisy equipment, can also lead to inner ear damage.
Viral infections can cause sudden sensorineural hearing loss. Viruses such as measles, meningitis and mumps can all lead to this issue. Equally problematic is Meniere’s Disease, which can lead to fluctuating hearing loss as well as vertigo and . In both cases, corticosteroids may be able to provide relief.
Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by tumors, as well as head trauma and abrupt changes in air pressure. A hereditary disorder known as otosclerosis can cause a bony growth to form around an important bone in the middle ear, leading to this type of hearing loss.
While sensorineural hearing loss can have a profoundly negative impact on your quality of life, there are treatments available.