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What is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

diagram of ear

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Hearing loss can be caused by a variety of factors and can be categorized as one of three types of hearing loss – sensorineural, conductive or mixed (both sensorineural and conductive components). Sensorineural hearing loss is the most common and is a permanent type of hearing loss. You can find more information about all types of hearing loss here.

Your ear is made up of three parts – the outer, the middle and the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or auditory nerve that prevents or weakens the transfer of sound to the brain. This can be due to damage either to the tiny cilia (hair-like cells) in the inner ear – a “sensory” loss- or due to damage to the auditory nerve itself – a “neural” loss. When it occurs later in life, sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by a variety of triggers.

Causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

  • Aging (presbycusis)
  • Exposure to loud noise
  • Hearing loss that runs in the family
  • Trauma to the head and/or inner ear
  • Virus or disease, including autoimmune and blood vessel diseases and infections like meningitis
  • Certain medications that are toxic to hearing
  • Acoustic neuroma or other tumors that affect the inner ear

So how can you tell if your hearing trouble is due to a sensorineural type of hearing loss? The only way to know for sure to have a full hearing evaluation. Your audiologist will be able to tell you if your hearing loss is a permanent, sensorineural hearing loss and recommend appropriate treatment, which often means hearing aids to help improve your hearing.

If you believe you’re suffering from hearing loss of any kind please call Evolution Hearing at our Charlottesville, VA location, 434-260-8007, at our Raleigh, NC location, 919-670-3258, or at our Richmond, VA location, 804-215-0001 to schedule an appointment today.