Sensorineural Hearing Loss
If a conductive hearing loss happens when the outer or inner ear is affected, sensorineural hearing loss occurs with problems in the inner ear. Deafness may also arise from damage to the nerves that send messages to and from the ears and brain.
The causes of sensorineural hearing loss are:
- Noise. Constant and prolonged exposure to loud noises can damage the inner ear. Some people may also turn deaf after hearing a loud explosion.
- Genetics. There are instances when hearing loss runs in the family.
- Congenital ear problems. Just like the case in conductive hearing loss, problems in ear formation may also cause sensorineural hearing impairment.
- Aging. As we age, the hearing function may be diminished, causing deafness.
- Injury to the head. Head trauma may cause hearing loss. One good example is a hard blow to the head due to an accident.
- Medication. Some medications may cause deafness.
- Diseases or infection. An autoimmune disease to the ear, as well as some viral infections in children, may cause sensorineural hearing loss.
Among the types of hearing loss, sensorineural hearing impairment is the common cause of permanent deafness. Hearing aids may help, but typically, surgery and medications will not improve the situation. Some doctors, however, order corticosteroids to reduce swelling if the inflammation of the cochlea is involved.
Mixed Hearing Loss
Mixed hearing loss happens when you have a problem in your middle or external ear and inner ear or the nerves connecting the brain and the ears. In this instance, conductive hearing loss happens at the same time as sensorineural hearing loss.
Among the three types of hearing loss, mixed hearing impairment gives the most trouble to the patient because there is more than one problem. To treat mixed hearing loss, the doctor must first ascertain if the problem is more of a conductive hearing loss or more of a sensorineural hearing loss. Commonly, the doctor will take care of the conductive hearing loss first. There have been cases when managing conductive hearing impairment improves the condition of the patient.