What is sensorineural hearing loss?
A sensorineural hearing loss is defined as damage to the hair cells in the cochlea (this is the sensory hearing organ) or damage to the neural pathways of hearing (nerves). With this type of hearing loss it is not always possible to tell which part is damaged and is therefore often listed together as sensorineural hearing loss.
Video showing sensorineural hearing loss
Thanks to MED-EL
Causes of sensorineural hearing loss
|Age (presbyacusis)||Gradual deterioration in hearing commonly occurring for both ears in the high pitched sounds. Affects 1 in 7 people above the age of 65.|
Episodes of a build-up of excess fluid in one part of the inner ear cause pressure that affects the hearing and balance organ.
Typically affects one ear and causes a low pitch hearing loss which may fluctuate. May cause tinnitus in addition to hearing loss.
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|Genetic/non genetic||Can be attributed to many different syndromes or through genetic or non genetic causes.|
|Loud noise (noise induced hearing loss)||Permanent or temporary hearing loss caused by exposure to loud noises. This may either be a sudden very loud sound or repeated exposure to high level sounds.|
|Benign tumour (acoustic neuroma)||A benign tumour which compresses the hearing nerve, typically affecting high pitch hearing in one ear. Can be associated with tinnitus and imbalance.|
|Infection of inner ear||May be caused by a viral or bacterial infection. Hearing loss likely to be of sudden onset and of a variety of severity.|
|Bang on the head (trauma)||Fracture of skull may cause damage to the cochlea or the hearing nerve.||NHS Choices|
|Ear surgery||All ear surgery carries the risk of hearing loss due to trauma to the inner ear by surgical instruments.|
|Medicines that are toxic to the ear (Ototoxic medication)||Can cause temporary or permanent damage to the cochlea, typically affecting the high pitches. They may include lifesaving antibiotics and some chemotherapy drugs.|
|Infectious diseases such as meningitis||Diseases such as measles, mumps and meningitis can cause permanent hearing loss or varying degrees in the cochlea.|
|Unknown causes||If all other possible causes (including the above) have been excluded.|