You might assume that all hearing loss is the same. However, there are actually different types. Let’s take a closer look at the most common kind, sensorineural hearing loss.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss is The Most Common Type of Hearing Loss
The National Library of Medicine states that “Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is the most common type and accounts for the majority of all hearing loss. SNHL refers to any cause of hearing loss due to a pathology of the cochlea, auditory nerve, or central nervous system.”
Most commonly, people develop SNHL after experiencing damage to the hair cells of the inner ear.
Common Causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
There are many factors and conditions that can cause damage that leads to sensorineural hearing loss. By far, the two most common causes are age and exposure to loud noise.
Other causes include, but are not limited to:
- Viral illness
- Certain autoimmune conditions
- Ototoxic medications like some antibiotics or pain relievers
- Head or ear trauma
- Conditions like heart disease, which can disrupt blood flow to the ear
It’s also possible that some combination of these all contribute to developing SNHL over the years, which is part of the reason why it becomes more common as you age.
What Can I Do To Prevent Hearing Loss?
You can’t always prevent sensorineural hearing loss. For example, if it’s due to aging, genetic factors or other conditions that are out of your control. However, you can take some steps to help protect your ears and reduce your risk of developing hearing loss.
You can do this by:
Preventing SNHL is not always possible, especially when it is caused by illness, injury or aging. However, there are steps you can take to help protect your ears and reduce your risk, including:
- Avoiding prolonged exposure to sounds above 85 dB and wearing proper hearing protection like earplugs or custom earmolds when you are exposed.
- Managing or preventing conditions like heart disease or diabetes by eating a healthy, balanced diet and getting in regular physical activity, as well as taking any medications as prescribed by your physician.
- If you’re over 50 or work in an environment that regularly exposes you to loud noise, consider scheduling regular hearing tests to set your hearing baseline and detect any hearing loss early.
Signs and Treatment Options for Sensorineural Hearing Loss
SNHL comes on gradually and can progress for years before people seek treatment. Be on the lookout for early signs, which include:
- Asking others to repeat themselves frequently
- Sounds and voices seem muffled
- It’s hard to follow conversations in louder environments, such as a popular restaurant like Ambiance on Albion
- Experiencing tinnitus (ringing in ears)
- Having other people comment on your hearing
If you have any of these signs or other concerns about your hearing, schedule an appointment with an audiologist. If they determine you have hearing loss, they will work with you to find the right hearing aids or other treatment option that best meets your needs and provides you with the clearest hearing.
For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Nelson Hearing Clinics, today.