Sensorineural deafness is hearing loss that occurs from damage to the inner ear, the nerve that runs from the ear to the brain (auditory nerve), or the brain.
Nerve deafness; Hearing loss - sensorineural; Acquired hearing loss; SNHL; Noise-induced hearing loss; NIHL
Symptoms may include:
Other symptoms include:
The inner part of the ear contains tiny hair cells (nerve endings), which change sounds into electric signals. The nerves then carry these signals to the brain.
Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is caused by damage to these special cells, or to the nerve fibers in the inner ear. Sometimes, the hearing loss is caused by damage to the nerve that carries the signals to the brain.
Sensorineural deafness can be present at birth (congenital), most often due to:
Sensorineural hearing loss may develop in children or adults later in life (acquired) as a result of:
In some cases, the cause is unknown.
Treatment is focused on improving your hearing. The following may be helpful:
A cochlear implant may be recommended for certain people with very severe hearing loss. Surgery is done to place the implant. The implant makes sounds seem louder, but does not restore normal hearing.
For information on treating age-related hearing loss, see: Presbycusis
Hildebrand MS, Husein M, Smith RJH. Genetic sensorineural hearing loss. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 147.
Arts HA. Sensorineural hearing loss in adults. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2010:chap 149.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. NIH Pub. No. 97-4233. Updated: October 2008.