Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage to the inner ear or the nerve pathways that transmit sound signals from the inner ear to the brain. This type of hearing loss is often caused by aging, exposure to loud noises, head injuries, or certain medical conditions such as infections, autoimmune disorders, and genetic disorders.
The main characteristic of sensorineural hearing loss is a reduced ability to hear faint or soft sounds and difficulty understanding speech, particularly in noisy environments. In some cases, individuals with sensorineural hearing loss may also experience tinnitus, which is a ringing or buzzing sound in the ears.
Sensorineural hearing loss is typically permanent, although hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other assistive devices can help improve hearing ability in many cases. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent further hearing loss and to improve overall communication and quality of life. Hearing tests performed by an audiologist can help determine the type and severity of hearing loss and identify appropriate treatment options.