What Is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

What Is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

There are many different types of hearing loss – with each case stemming from its own root causes. But in the United States, sensorineural hearing loss is the most common, accounting for up to 90% of all hearing loss.  

This medical condition is especially pronounced among older patients:

  • 33% of Americans aged 60 to 70 suffer from sensorineural hearing loss.
  • That number jumps up to 50% among those between 70 and 80 years old.

Sufferers of this condition complain of “mishearing” others, forcing them to constantly ask “what?” and “huh?” for clarification. This is particularly common in environments with lots of ambient noise – i.e. crowded restaurants, parties, and other social events.

Sensorineural hearing loss can appear suddenly – sometimes over the course of just a few days. But more often than not, this condition manifests gradually over time as one ages.

What Causes Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

The cochlea is the hearing organ, and it is shaped like a snail.  The cochlea contains fluid and hair cells. When the eardrum moves, it cause the bones in your middle ear to move, which then sets into motion the fluid in the inner ear.  This movement triggers the hair cells. Not all hair cells move at the same time. There are two different types of hair cells, and they are arranged in a pattern that move for according the the pitch or frequency of sound. Damage to these hair cells cause a sensorineural hearing loss.  Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by:

  • Exposure to medication
  • Diseases such as Multiple Sclerosis, Kidney Disease, Charcot Marie Tooth Syndrome.  
  • Overexposure to loud noises (e.g.riding motorcycles, power tools).
  • Ear infections and certain medications.
  • Natural aging over time.

With enough damage, these vibrational follicles are no longer able to properly transmit sound – making it difficult for the brain to accurately receive and process auditory information.

Regardless of the exact cause, however, sensorineural hearing loss can negatively impact one’s quality of life. Even in the most benign cases, the listener must expend more effort to carry on everyday conversations. Feelings of frustration and embarrassment often accompany this medical condition since one must keep asking others to repeat what they just said. Sufferers frequently just give up, which leads to isolation and breakdown in communication with loved ones.

Is it Possible to Treat Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

There is currently no known cure for sensorineural hearing loss. But with proper treatment and management, it’s possible to:

  • Reclaim the ability to participate in conversation with less effort

The most effective treatment for sensorineural hearing loss involves 3 distinct stages.

1. Audiometric Evaluation

Although sensorineural hearing loss is the most common auditory condition, accurate diagnosis is essential for optimal treatment. At The Hearing Solution, we conduct a series of auditory evaluations on-site. These hearing tests are performed in noisy situations that are designed to simulate real-world environments.

2. Hearing Aids

Based on the results of our diagnostic tests, we then help our patients choose the most appropriate  hearing aids for their needs. Although most hearing aids work by amplifying sound, the ultimate goal is to maximize clarity. This is why proper hearing aid fitting and customization are so important.

In addition to in-house testing of each hearing aid, we also encourage our patients to “test drive” their hearing aids in the real world. This helps us more accurately measure improvements and make corrective changes as needed.

3. Auditory Training

The cochlea’s hair cells may be responsible for sound, but the brain is ultimately responsible for processing this information. And through a series of guided exercises, using the clEAR program makes it possible to retrain the brain to more accurately distinguish new sounds. Equally important, this auditory memory training can also improve the brain’s ability to quickly recall and store auditory information.

Ready to Get Tested for Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

At The Hearing Solution, our goal is to eliminate the “what’s?” and “huh’s?” from Sacramento so our patients can confidently participate in all social situations:

  • Without fear...
  • Without frustration...
  • And without embarrassment.

If you suspect that you or a loved one is suffering from sensorineural hearing loss, we invite you to schedule a diagnostic evaluation with The Hearing Solution today.

To get started, click here.

Interested in learning more? Attend one of our regular hearing solution events to learn more about our unique approach to hearing loss or give us a call at 916-646-2471.

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