The following are various signs and symptoms of SNHL:
In addition to the above mentioned symptoms, affected individuals may also experience the following:
The following are the diagnostic procedures employed for detecting sensorineural hearing loss:
The major goal of treatment is to improve the hearing ability of the affected individuals. In sensorineural hearing loss, the hearing loss cannot be completely restored. In this, since the nerve endings are damaged, the capability to hear sound clearly is greatly affected.
In mild cases, hearing aids work well for individuals suffering from mild to moderate hearing loss. For such individuals, telephone amplifiers are also known to be effective.
In severe cases, hearing aids do not work and therefore, a cochlear transplant is required. Post the procedure, the sounds appear louder but not clearer.
The prognosis of the condition greatly depends on the extent of damage to the nerve endings. Mild to moderate hearing loss may be treated with hearing aids that can help individuals to a certain extent. However, in severe cases, cochlear implants may be necessary as hearing aids may not be of much help. In many cases, no treatment regime can restore back the hearing ability.
Sensorineural hearing loss can adversely affect the quality of life. The inability to hear appropriately can give rise to the following conditions:
SNHL is a nerve related hearing loss that basically occurs due to damage to the nerve that joins the inner ear to the brain. Several factors responsible for such a kind of hearing loss include the following:
Though the chances are rare, but SNHL can be present at birth and is caused due to genetic defect or certain infections that are transferred from the mother to the baby. A significant number of SNHL among neonates have unknown etiology .
The exact incidence of sensorinerual hearing loss is not known as many cases go unreported. With the limited data that is available, it can be estimated that such a type of hearing loss occurs in about 5 to 20 cases per 100,000 individuals. The average incidence of SNHL among neonates is 1.1 cases per 1000 births in the United States . Men and women are affected in equal numbers by this condition.
The human ear contains tiny hairs which are also known as nerve endings that transform the sound into electric signals . These signals are then carried by the nerves to the brain where they are interpreted as sound. In the condition of SNHL, the nerves that carry the information from the ear to the brain are damaged . As a result, signals do not reach the brain for it to interpret the information as sound. Sequence of such events gives rise to hearing loss. In some syndromic cases of SNHLs, dysfunctional proteins have been identified in the transport of calcium and potassium ions .
Individuals who are exposed to loud noises for longer duration are advised to wear protective devices to prevent their ears from damage due to the loud noise. Musicians are also advised to wear ear plugs to protect their ears from the loud noise of the musical instruments. Plexiglass baffles should also be used to reduce the noise from drummer’s high hat cymbals.
Sensorineural hearing loss, abbreviated as SNHL is one of the most common type of permanent hearing loss that occurs due to damage to the inner ear and the nerve that connects the inner ear to the brain. In SNHL, the individual has great difficulty in hearing faint sounds and even sounds that are loud enough to be heard, appear unclear to the affected individuals . Prolonged exposure to loud noises is one of the greatest risk factors for development of SNHL.
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is a condition characterized by loss of hearing ability due to damage to the inner ear or the nerves that transform the signals from the ear to the brain. It is the most common cause of hearing loss. It has been estimated that 90% cases of hearing loss are sensorineural in nature. The condition can be managed with hearing aids for mild cases. Severe loss of hearing would require a cochlear transplant.
Symptoms of SNHL include inability to clearly hear conversation between 2 individuals and inability to hear in places with loud noise. Individuals with SNHL are also unable to clearly hear certain types of sound and men’s voice appears to be clearer than women’s.
Diagnosis of SNHL begins with a prior physical examination of the ear to rule out infections or blockages by physical objects or ear wax. Post this, the tuning fork test is carried out to examine the extent of damage to the ear. A more sophisticated technique known as the bone conduction test is done to confirm the diagnosis of sensorineural hearing loss.
SNHL cannot be cured; however the hearing ability can be partially restored. Hearing aids are treatment of choice for mild to moderate hearing loss. In severe cases, cochlear implants may be necessary to help individuals hear. With the implants, the hearing ability is not completely restored and the noises appear to be louder enabling the individuals to hear to some extent.