Sensorineural Hearing Loss: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Sensorineural hearing loss can occur over the course of minutes, hours or over the course of a lifetime.

In this blog post, we explain what the condition is, its causes, and how to manage sensorineural hearing loss.

What is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss is caused by damage to the cochlea, which is located in the inner ear. The hair cells within the cochlea move in response to sound pressure waves in the cochlea fluid and are responsive to their own specific frequency which causes sensitivity to sound.

Continued exposure to noise, along with this sensitivity can spread to adjacent frequencies and produce a chronic and permanent hearing loss. It comes with a range of varying symptoms such as muffled hearing and tinnitus. Sensorineural hearing loss can be treated with salt restriction and hearing aids.

If you believe you may be experiencing sensorineural hearing loss, it is recommended you consult a medical profession or licensed audiologist.

Symptoms of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The condition's symptoms can vary from person-to-person. Some of the main symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss include:

Other symptoms include difficulty hearing when the speaker's face is not visible and misunderstanding some or all of the information. Therefore, people with untreated hearing loss often have difficulty understanding speech and are generally unable to hear well when background noise is present.

Additionally, people with minor hearing problems fail to notice the gradual loss. When you notice that the hearing loss is impacting your daily life, it may be time to try and manage the condition with a digital hearing aid.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Causes

There are two commonly recognized types of sensorineural hearing loss: sudden and progressive.

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSHL) is an otologic condition commonly defined as a quick decline in hearing. SSHL can be caused by a viral infection of the cochlea. Another cause is rupture or tears in the thin, oval and round window membranes surrounding the stapes footplate that can allow perilymph to flow out of the inner ear into the middle ear. Usually, such leaks are a result of a blow to the head or trauma. Occasionally they occur spontaneously.

Diagnosis can be difficult and typically relies on a history of head trauma or external-internal pressure changes.

Progressive sensorineural hearing loss includes noise-induced hearing loss and presbycusis. While noise-induced hearing loss arises from accumulated noise exposure over time, presbycusis comes along with physiologic ageing. Conditions that may contribute to presbycusis include atherosclerosis, chronic noise exposure, chemical exposure, diet, and metabolism, as well as genetics. Other causes include autoimmune diseases, multiple sclerosis, diabetes, tumours, exposure to certain drugs and smoking.

A medical professional should be able to identify which type of SHL you have and recommend the appropriate next steps.

Treatment for Sensorineural Hearing Loss

The most basic form of sensorineural hearing loss treatment is salt restriction. Periodic use of vestibular suppressants is useful for treating dizziness. If medical therapy fails, surgical procedures can be considered.

Analogue or digital hearing aids are the most appropriate treatment for older people with sensorineural hearing loss. They can be easily adjusted and tailored to the individual’s pattern of deafness.

Unlike analogue hearing aids, which carry amplified sound into the ear, cochlear implants change sound waves into impulses. Through a surgically implanted electrode, these impulses are directly carried to the hearing nerve. The advantage of cochlear implants is that they are effective even with malfunctioning cochlea hair cells.

Untreated hearing loss can be a significant cause of psychological withdrawal from social activities, leading to a feeling of isolation, lack of self-confidence and depression. That is why early detection is very important. The earlier the issue is identified, the easier it is for the patient to adjust to a hearing aid and the sooner they can start enjoying the freedom of being able to hear well again.

We also have a range of items to assist those with hearing loss. We stock a range of products from hearing aids to amplified phonessuper loud alarm clocksassistive listening devices and more.

Online Hearing Test

At HearingDirect, we have created our very own online hearing test so you can check your hearing for free in the comfort of your own home. If you believe you, a loved one, family member or friend could be suffering from hearing loss, then you test your hearing.

sensorineural hearing loss

All you will need is a few free minutes and some ear or headphones. Once the test is complete, you will get your results instantly via email and based on the outcome of the hearing test, you may be encouraged to take further action.

Managing Hearing Loss

There are effective ways to manage sensorineural hearing loss and other forms of hearing impairment.

We provide a range of key products to help those with hearing loss maintain a better quality of life. Hearing aids are crucial to lifestyle satisfaction, helping those with hearing loss enjoy the sounds they love. After a discreet device? See our invisible hearing aids.

To avoid further damage to your inner ears, see our range of ear plugs which could help protect your hearing.

About Hearing Direct

At HearingDirect.com, we also offer a number of devices to help those with hearing impairments. Our amplified phones, wireless TV listeners, and extra loud alarm clocks provide added benefits to the hearing loss community and the products we provide are designed to improve your quality of life.


If you have any questions relating to hearing loss, please do contact us and our expert team will do their best to help you.

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