What is Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Most of the time, Sensorineural hearing loss cannot be medically or surgically corrected. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss reduces the ability to hear faint sounds. Even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or sound muffled.
- Some sounds seem too loud.
- You have problems following conversations when two or more people are talking.
- You have problems hearing in noisy areas.
- It is easier to hear men's voices than women's voices.
- It is hard to tell high-pitched sounds (such as "s" or "th") from one another.
- Other people's voices sound mumbled or slurred.
- You have problems hearing when there is background noise.
- Feeling of being off-balance or dizzy
- Ringing or buzzing sound in the ears (tinnitus)
The inner part of the ear contains tiny hair cells (nerve endings), that change sounds into electric signals. The nerves then carry these signals to the brain.
Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to these special cells, or to the nerve fibers in the inner ear. Sometimes, the hearing loss is caused by damage to the nerve that carries the signals to the brain.
Sensorineural deafness that is present at birth (congenital) is most often due to:
- Genetic syndromes
- Infections that the mother passes to her baby in the womb
- Age-related hearing loss
- Disease of the blood vessels
- Immune disease
- Infections, such as meningitis, mumps, scarlet fever, and measles
- Loud noises or sounds, or loud sounds that last for a long time
- Meniere's disease
- Tumor, such as acoustic neuroma
- Use of certain medicines
- Working around loud noises every day