Hearing loss is categorized into conductive hearing loss and sensorineural hearing loss. Conductive hearing loss is associated with reduced air bone conduction, which results in hearing loss. On the other hand sensorineural hearing loss is associated with normal air and bone conduction but is associated with damage at the level of the cochlear or eight cranial nerves which are responsible for the sense of hearing. The diagnosis is made based on an audio metric study.
Sensorineural hearing loss accounts to approximately 90% of all hearing problems. The condition is commonly referred to as nerve deafness.
Causes Of Sensorial Hearing Loss
The condition is observed in about 23% individuals above the age of 65 years. Some of the common conditions associated with sensorineural hearing loss include,
- Age related hearing loss is referred to as presbycusis.
- Menieres disease is associated with sensorineural hearing loss.
- Ototoxic medications which including high aspirin dosage and use of strong diuretics for prolonged periods of time is associated with hearing loss.
- Trauma to the inner ear can also result in permanent loss of hearing.
- Meningitis and Syphilis are associated with hearing loss. These infectious conditions can cause lesions of the cochlea or the higher auditory pathway and result in hearing loss.
- Though there is not adequate evidence – diabetes, hypertension and obesity are known to be risk factors associated with loss of hearing.
Sensorineural Hearing Loss Prognosis
Sensorineural hearing loss is associated with damage to the cochlea or the nerve pathway from the inner ear to the brain. Unfortunately the prognosis of sensorineural hearing loss can’t be corrected and it most cases it is permanent in nature.
The condition is characterized by inability to hear faint sounds and in most occasions, even when the sound is loud, the sound continues to remain unclear and muffled. Cochlear implants are considered to able to improve sensorineural hearing loss in some cases.
Treatment For Sensorineural Hearing Loss
The treatment for sensorineural hearing loss includes use of hearing aids and cochlear implants,
- Hearing aids are electronic devices that can be fitted into the ear externally. The hearing aid consists of microphones that pick up environmental sounds which in turn are amplified (with the help of an amplifier), that transmits sounds into the ear.
- Cochlear implant is also an electronic device which is implanted behind the ear. Cochlear implant directly stimulates the auditory nerve and facilitates the sound from being heard. The cochlear implant contains a receiver and stimulator which are implanted into the bone behind the ear. These components include light weight speech processor which helps in transmitting information with the help of magnets.
Homeopathic drugs have also been found to be beneficial in the management of sensorineural hearing loss. Bryonia Alba, Medorrhinum and Agaricus are found to be beneficial in the management of sensorineural hearing loss.