LAST UPDATED: November 17th, 2021 | BY:
Are you feeling sounds extremely loud even if they are not? Are you unable to hear the high-pitched sounds especially the sounds of “s” and “th”? then, you could be suffering from nerve deafness.
Today 90% of adults are suffering from progressive hearing loss. There could be many factors which are cause never deafness, the most common one is aging and exposure to extremely loud voices, more than 85 decibels.
You might now able to recognize it at the earliest stage until you have lost nearly 30 to 50 percent of your hearing ability but don’t worry, read this article till the end to get in-depth knowledge about SNHL, and let’s find out its cure.
Sensorineural hearing loss is the consequence of a damaged inner ear and auditory nerve. The snail-shaped structure inside your inner ear is called the cochlea contains tiny hair cells. The minute sensory receptors convert the auditory message into a neural impulse and transmit it to the brain. But due to several factors, hair receptors in the ear get damaged causing sensory hear loss.
Nerve deafness can range on various levels of hearing loss, especially from mild hearing loss to complete deafness.
Mild hearing loss ranges between 26 to 40 decibels and it can be seen moderate, severe, and profound hearing loss ranging above 90 decibels too. Most of the time, it affects both the ear’s hearing ability.
Although, sensorineural hearing loss is not temporary in nature but isn’t a life-threatening condition too. It will interfere with your daily speech but to prove this fact, read till the end and understand the treatment options you have if encounter SNHL.
There could be various causes that can upshot nerve deafness. Experiencing them in daily life or even once in your life, can uprise progressive hearing loss.
Although causes of SNHL are subjective we try to cover almost all the factors that can bring up hearing deafness.
Sensory hearing loss frequently occurs as a repercussion of defacement or deficient cochlear hair cells. This includes both internal and external factors like infection, ototoxic drugs, genetic disposition. Sometimes, head injury or bleeding in the ear can also cause hearing deafness. Even lack of oxygen can uprise progressive hearing loss.
Genetical defilement and non-syndromic hearing loss are one of the innate causes of hearing abnormalities affecting one to three children per thousands. Although, hearing impairment can be developed in the future too, without any innate cause.
Another common cause that can worsen SNHL is prolonged exposure to environmental noise. Exposure to extremely loud noise including the sounds of gunshot or bomb blast can give rise to noise-induced hearing loss. Even if you encounter them once, they can cause long-lasting damage.
Experiencing headphones at sky-scraping volume over time tends to weaken the hair cells. Even, encountering extremely loud environments on a daily-basis like working in a loud workplace, frequently attending sporting events or concerts.
Using noisy machines on daily basis can put you at risk of losing your hearing ability.
Presbycusis or age-related hearing loss is quite common among the people of the age group of 65 to 75 in the US. Nearly every 1 person out of 3 of this age group tends to have progressive hearing loss.
The earliest age to encounter SNHL is 18 years, most of the time affecting higher frequencies, especially to the people living in industrialized societies. The nerve impairment affects men faster in comparison to women.
Hearing loss which is an outcome of growing age is neither reversible nor curable.
The inability of an individual to hear from both ears is called “Bilateral” hearing loss. It could affect the ear at any level of hearing loss ranging from moderate to profound deafness.
Exposure to extremely loud noises or aging could uprise the bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. This marks the fact that both of the ears have been damaged permanently or the inner ear has been blocked.
Ear surgery or even the use of hearing aids are recommended as both ears have lost their ability to hear. Depending upon the severity of the loss, the treatments are suggested by an Audiologist.
Unlike bilateral sensorineural hearing loss, unilateral hearing loss only affects one ear of an individual. The other ear functions without any complications. An individual isn’t entirely deaf but faces a lot of issues while conversing with another human being.
This could be uprooting of sudden sensorineural hearing loss or tumor. Meniere’s disease or side effects of any drug could be the possible causes for unilateral sensorineural hearing loss.
Hearing aids or hearing implantations are the two different options available to an individual depending upon the level of hearing loss. Hearing implantation is only recommended by an audiologist in case of damaged bone or serious illness in-ear.
The hearing loss resulting due to exposure to extremely loud sounds is defined as Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). People suffering from NIHL has a very narrow range of frequencies, which they can hear. This further includes the impaired perception of sound like ringing in the ear. Continuous exposure to hazardous environmental conditions could also be the cause of NIHL.
The individual suffering from NIHL tend to lose their hearing ability either gradually or all of a sudden if encounter to the situation like gunshot or bomb blast, causing the permanent death of hair receptors.
A variety of strategies for prevention have been used to avoid the effect of NIHL like restricting the physical exposure to loud noises, listening to music at low volumes, etc. various communication strategies and assistive devices are also suggested by the audiologist if experience noise-induced hearing loss.
Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL), locally known as sudden deafness, explains the unexplained and swift loss of hearing ability. It reduces an individual’s hearing ability by more than 30 decibels in 3 days.
Nine people out of ten experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss only in one ear. It could be all of a sudden or it can take few days for you to notice the hearing disability.
It ought to be considered as a medical emergency. Try not to delay the going to an audiologist for seeking the treatment as it may render less effective treatment later on.
Mostly adults of the age of 40s and 50s, first time experiences sudden sensorineural hearing loss strikes.
Symptoms: Most people encounter SSHL, right after waking up in the dawn. Even while talking on the phone or attending video calls on zoom, could be the time to discover a reduction in hearing ability.
Hearing sudden loud noises in the ear or alarming “pop” could be the sign of losing the hearing ability. Going dizzy with ringing sounds in the ear could be some of the possible symptoms of sudden hearing loss.
Causes: Ear infections, putting unhealthy objects into your ear, excessive itching in the ear could be some of the symptoms, one will encounter in daily life.
Injury over your brain, skull, or scalp which is resulted either from some sort of accident or hitting of some hard object over your head. Accidents like motor vehicle accidents or sports-related accidents can result in hearing loss.
Autoimmune Disease refers to the state of the body where the body’s immune system attacks the body and can affect any organ or part of the body. Although the immune system tends to fight with the antigens to protect our body from foreign invasion in autoimmune disease, it fights against the healthy cells of the body affecting any part or organ.
The objective of a healthy body is to transport blood to each and every part of the body. Sometimes due to a lack of supply of oxygen and blood to the various parts of the body, that particular body organ or part restricts its functioning. This could lead to temporary or permanent blockage of that particular organ or part.
Treatment: The most common type of treatment suggested by the audiologist for sudden sensorineural hearing loss is the prescribing of corticosteroids. Taking the drug for at least two weeks increasing the probability to regain the lost hearing ability.
Choosing the right treatment can cure any disease. Although no surgical treatment is available for SNHL at present audiologists suggest the use of hearing assist or cochlea implantations depending upon the severity and the degree of hearing loss.
A therapy called “Gene” can also be used to compensate for hearing loss but it has not been clinically proven yet. Various experts are working over the therapy, to bring a revolution in the field of hearing loss.
Hearing Aids: The use of digital hearing aids can adjust themselves according to an individual’s need. The use of artificial intelligence tends to adjust the mode of the environment without the much use of human interference. In case of inability to hear high-pitch sounds, hearing aids are highly recommended.
Cochlear Implantations: A device is implemented in the ear only if you are suffering from severe and profound sensory hearing loss. The cochlear implants are manufactured using two parts, a microphone, and a receiver.
A microphone is wearing behind the era d the receiver is attached inside the ear which tends to convert auditory signals into an electrical neural impulse and further sends it to the brain for interpretation.
Frequently Asked Questions:
Is Sensorineural Hearing Loss Curable?
No, sensorineural hearing loss is permanent and no surgery for SNHL is available at present. Treatment like the use of hearing aids and cochlear implantations tends to reduce the effect of hearing loss.
Can Stress Cause Sensorineural Hearing Loss?
Many studies have proved that the fact that prolonged exposure to stressful conditions can be considered as one of the causes of nerve impairment. Sudden SNHL is an acute dysfunction resulting in malfunctioning of the inner ear.
This can be further understood and characterized by the sudden hearing loss that tends to potential progression later on to complete deafness.
Why Does The Ear Feel Blocked And Ringing?
The possible reasons behind the ringing in the ear and blockage could be ear infections. They are most commonly in the swimmer’s ear, causing infection via bacteria and viruses. Sometimes this leads to a build-up of fluid and pressure in the ear making the ear blocked and you are unable to hear anything.
What Could Be Repercussions After Going For Cochlear Hearing Implantations?
Cochlear implants have been successful in managing severe–profound sensorineural hearing loss. Although they might cause some bleeding and facial nerve weakness they are quite used to cure hearing disability. It can be used for both post lingually deafened adults and prelingually deafened children.