Book an appointment
Book a free appointment with one of our experts at a store near you.
What happens in a hearing test?
Understand what happens at your free hearing test with Boots Hearingcare

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sensorineural hearing loss changes your ability to hear quiet sounds and reduces the quality of the sound that you hear by quite some margin. The condition occurs as a result of damage to the hair cells inside the inner ear or damage to the hearing nerve (or both) and is often permanent.

What are the causes?

Sensorineural hearing loss is sometimes known as nerve-related hearing loss, on account of the way deafness sets in through trauma to the cochlea nerve endings.

There are two different types of sensorineural hearing loss: congenital and acquired.

Congenital hearing loss happens at birth; it can be inherited genetically or during the foetal development stages. Acquired hearing loss happens after birth and can be due to a variety of factors.

The most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss include:

  • Aging
  • Lengthy exposure to loud noises
  • Injury to the head or ear
  • Certain medications
  • Infections such as measles, mumps or meningitis
  • Ménière’s disease

Another thing to bear in mind is family history. If a more senior member of your family has sensorineural hearing loss that came on without any external interference, this makes you more susceptible.

What are the symptoms?

Sensorineural hearing loss tends to happend gradually over time.  It is therefore worth knowing the symptoms, so that it can be identified as early as possible and medical treatment can be sought.

Symptoms that are common with sensorineural hearing loss include:

  • Certain sounds seeming overly loud in one ear
  • Problems following conversations between two or more people
  • Difficulty hearing in noisy areas
  • Other people’s voices sounding mumbled or slurred
  • Difficulty hearing over background noise
  • Feeling of being off-balance or dizzy
  • Tinnitus

Identifying the symptoms that are exclusive only to sensorineural hearing loss can be difficult. However, if you experience any of the above symptoms, then it’s likely that you’re suffering from some form of sensorineural hearing loss – and should seek immediate medical treatment.

What treatments are available?

Sensorineural hearing loss is typically treated with the help of hearing aids. There are many types of hearing aid available, so be sure to find a model that fits your needs.

Sensorineural hearing loss is untreatable through medicine or surgery. We recommend that you adopt a treatment plan put together by your GP or audiologist as soon as possible, given that sensorineural hearing loss can have unwanted side effects such as isolation and lower quality of life.

Frequently asked questions

How common is sensorineural hearing loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common type of deafness. You’ll find that most people who wear hearing aids have been diagnosed with sensorineural hearing loss. Therefore, it’s imperative that you seek medical guidance if any of the abovementioned symptoms begin manifesting themselves.

Can sensorineural hearing loss be reversed?

Sadly, the ageing and noise exposure associated with sensorineural hearing loss leads to a permanent change in hearing. This means it cannot be reversed. However, it is possible to improve your quality of hearing and overall hearing health with hearing aids.

Will a hearing aid help with sensorineural hearing loss

Most people with sensorineural hearing loss find that having a hearing aid can help greatly, as it helps to provide greater clarity and increases overall sound quality.

Although, if your hearing is only mildly affected by the condition, you may not need a device at all. Such a decision will be advised by your doctor or audiologist.