Hearing loss that is caused by malformation or damage of the auditory nerve or cochlea is called sensorineural hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss causes a permanent hearing impairment.
The amount of hearing impairment caused by sensorineural hearing loss can range from a mild hearing loss to complete deafness. There are no effective medical treatments or surgeries to cure sensorineural hearing loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss is sometimes called nerve deafness. The reason it is called nerve deafness is because it is caused by an inability of the auditory nerve to either receive information from the cochlea or transmit information to the auditory processing center of the brain.
Tinnitus and dizziness maybes other symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss. Tinnitus is a condition that causes the person to hear phantom sounds not present in the environment such as ringing in the ear.
Some possible causes of sensorineural hearing loss include disease, birth injury, heredity, genetic syndromes, aging, and some medications. Other possible causes include head trauma, exposure to noise, and tumors. Damage to the blood vessels that supply blood to the cochlea can also attribute to sensorineural hearing loss.
Bacterial meningitis can cause sensorineural hearing loss. Varicella-zoster and pertussis are examples of to viral infections that can be causes of sensorineural hearing loss. The sensorineural hearing loss caused by genetic syndromes is often one of several impairments caused by the genetic syndrome.
In some cases, the cause for the sensorineural hearing loss is not able to be identified. In these cases, they hearing loss may be called idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss. Some cases of idiopathic sensorineural hearing loss results on their own without treatment.
While diagnosing sensorineural hearing loss, the physician may ask a series of questions related to the onset and possible causes of the hearing impairment. Hearing tests may be performed to determine the severity of the hearing loss.
If the sensorineural hearing loss is due to damage to the auditory nerve, medical treatment is not likely to improve the condition. If the person has sustained damage to the cochlea, a cochlear implant may be the recommended treatment. Mild cases may have improvement with the use of regular hearing aid.
Conductive hearing loss is generally easier to treat than sensorineural hearing loss. The blockage of sound in the middle ear that causes conductive hearing loss can sometimes be surgically corrected. Hearing aids are often more effective for people with conductive hearing loss than they would be for sensorineural hearing loss.
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