Whenever a sound wave strikes your ear, miniature nerve endings in your inner ear translate them into electric signals that your brain understands as sounds. If these nerve endings are destroyed, or if damage occurs in other areas of the inner ear,sensorineural hearing loss can result.
A person who is suffering from sensorineural hearing loss is not necessarily completely deaf. In fact, in many instances only particular sounds become hard to hear. An individual affected by sensorineural hearing loss make claim that some sounds are actually too loud while other sounds are muffled and indistinct. Noisy conditions can make it difficult for you to single out speech patterns. Men’s voices frequently sound clearer than higher-pitched women’s voices and following conversations with several speakers is particularly difficult. Individuals with sensorineural hearing loss may also find themselves feeling dizzy or experiencing ringing in the ears.
Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors. In some cases the individual has this problem from birth. 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 starts later life can have many different underlying 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.
Sensorineural hearing loss can come on suddenly, such as in the case of viral infections. These infections include measles, meningitis and mumps. Meniere’s Disease, a syndrome that causes vertigo, hearing loss and tinnitus, can also lead to fluctuating sensorineural hearing loss. Both conditions can potentially be treated with corticosteroids.
Abrupt changes in air pressure and head trauma can cause sensorineural hearing loss, as can other physical issues such as tumors. Otosclerosis, a hereditary disorder in which a bony growth in the middle ear disrupts hearing, is another physical cause of sensorineural hearing loss.
While sensorineural hearing loss can have a profoundly negative effect on your quality of life, there are treatment options available.