What is sensorineural hearing loss also called SSHL, and how you can treat it.
Sensorineural hearing loss is a persistent disorder that affects your capacity to hear quiet sounds and lowers the sound’s quality. The conventional treatment pathway for people with sensorineural hearing loss is to use hearing aids to manage the associated challenges.
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Do you have sensorineural hearing loss?
When anything moves, it makes a sound. Even if the sound is scarcely audible (or not audible to the human ear), it is audible.
When an object vibrates or moves, it causes the air particles surrounding it to move. The particles surrounding it could be water, gas, or even solids like earth or metal, although most of the time, they are air.
Causes of Hearing Loss
“Hearing loss has widespread implications,” says Oliver Adunka, M.D., director of otology, neurotology and cranial base surgery at Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center and professor in the department of otolaryngology at Ohio State University College of Medicine.
Even if the middle ear is healthy and amplifying and transmitting sound waves properly, problems can occur in the inner ear where the snail shell-shaped cochleas translate those sound waves into electrical signals that travel via the auditory nerves to the brain. This is known as sensorineural hearing loss.
As the particles around the vibrating object begin to move, they create a ‘wave’ of sound that transports the vibration from the source to your ear. It is recognised by the brain as a specific sound.
The human ear is a delicate mechanism that allows incoming sound waves to be translated into a format that your brain can recognise and interpret.
The pinna, or outside part of your ear, picks up on these vibrations.
After the sound is captured, it’s sent to the inner region of your ear dedicated to hearing.
Cotton buds are harmful to your ears.
This region of the ear detects not only the waves themselves but also changes in air pressure. It converts into an electrical signal and sends it to the brain, together with the sound’s determined direction and spatial correlation to the individual doing the hearing.
The ear is a fragile device that relies on several interconnected elements to function correctly. When any of these components fails to work as intended, it might result in loss.
The type of hearing loss suffered is determined by which section of the ear is injured.
Can you cure sensorineural hearing loss?
While certain losses can be repaired with various medical treatments or technologies, such as hearing aids, some damage cannot be repaired.
The issue with sensorineural hearing loss is that it destroys the inner or hearing component of the ear, as well as the actual nerve connections that connect the inner ear to the brain.
Are you ready to improve the health of your hearing?
Both issues are simply too complex to be resolved with modern medical methods. So, what exactly is this hearing loss, and how does it impact a person’s ability to hear sounds?
Sensorineural hearing loss significantly reduces the ability to hear faint noises.
Furthermore, even if speech or sounds are loud enough to be heard, they can still come across as indistinct, muffled, or garbled.
What factors contribute to sensorineural hearing loss?
There are several known causes of sensorineural hearing loss. Including specific types of illnesses that are not properly treated. Taking drugs which are toxic to the hearing parts of the ears or those specific neurological pathways. Head injury, ageing, birth defects, or exposure to sudden and surprising loud noises or being subjected to loud noises over time.
The majority of persons who suffer from severe hearing loss have irreparable damage to the cochlea’s hair cells, where the hairs that serve to carry sound waves around the inner ear are damaged.
Those who suffer injury to the cranial nerves or auditory areas of the brain are more unusual.
The severity of sensorineural hearing loss can be affected by various levels of damage.
If the damage is minor, it may result in muffled or garbled sounds. Such as difficulty recognising one speaker among a multitude of voices or hearing and taking part in a discussion when there is background noise, such as music or repetitive noises.
For people suffering from more severe symptoms, it can result in a condition of isolation.
You can hear what’s going on outdoors or around you. Still, you can’t distinguish between distinct noises or tell where they’re originating from.
Those who have a complete breakdown and can no longer hear anything are at the extreme end of the spectrum.
Suppurative labyrinthitis, meningitis, measles, and mumps. These are some diseases that can cause sensorineural hearing loss if they are encountered or left untreated.
Aminoglycosides, antimetabolites, loop diuretics, and even the use of salicylates such as aspirin. These are some of the medicines that might cause this hearing loss.
Very loud noises and your hearing loss.
Head traumas usually require specific types of injuries to particular locations of the head, such as a fracture of the temporal bone or an accident that affects the cranial nerve in some way.
It is easier to understand how loud noises could cause significant hearing loss. Especially when damage can occur over time from prolonged exposure to frequencies beyond 90dB (or 4000 Hz). Yet, the recognised safe human hearing range is below 70dB.
Do you suspect you have hearing loss?
However, this does not indicate that being around noises lower than 90dB is ‘safe’ because the harm can accumulate over time. Regrettably, many of the technologies that we assume to be simply a part of life in Western society are touching on the hazardous level when it comes to sound.
Noises emitted by aircraft, lawnmowers, huge trucks, trains, construction equipment, and most major rock bands can be dangerous, especially if you are subjected to them for an extended period of time or regularly.
- Presbyacusis, an age-related hearing loss, is by far the most common cause.
- Sensorineural hearing loss can be hereditary causes, noise exposure, or disease.
- Hearing loss in a person with dementia can make communication even more challenging.
- Tuning fork tests can assist in differentiating between sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
- The term “mixed hearing loss” refers to a combination of sensorineural and conductive hearing loss.
There is also some reason for concern with iPods and MP3 players. These can use earbud-style earphones to pump loud music directly into the inner ear without air friction filtration to help take the edge off.
While there are various types of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing loss is typically untreatable by existing medical methods or equipment. It becomes an issue that most individuals must learn to live with.