When it comes to hearing loss, there are three main types: sensory, conductive, and mixed. The most common type of hearing loss is, affecting 9 out of 10 people with hearing loss.
Having Neural Hearing Loss means that there is damage to the small hair cells known as your inner ear (stereocilia) or the neural pathways that pass from your inner ear to the brain. It normally affects both ears. Once you develop Neural Hearing Loss, you have it for the rest of your life. It can be mild, moderate, severe or deep.
What are the causes of Neural Hearing Loss?
The causes of this type of hearing loss are usually classified into two categories: acquired or congenital. Most people have acquired hearing loss.
Acquired means that hearing loss develops after a person is born, usually later in life. Reasons may include:
Old age:- One of the most common conditions of aging, presbycusis, or age-related hearing loss, affects one in three Americans between the ages of 65–74. Because this type of damage occurs over time, usually in both ears, it is sometimes difficult to notice.
Noise:- Noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) can occur once exposed to loud noise, such as an explosion or firepower, or from a loud sound over 85 decibels (dB) over an extended period of time. If you are prone to hearing a sound or your ears ringing after attending a live concert or ballgame, your hearing health is in danger.
Diseases and Infections:- Viral infections – including measles, meningitis, and mumps – can cause Neural Hearing Loss.
Head or acoustic trauma:- Damage to your inner ear can also result from a blow to the head or exposure to very loud noise, such as an explosion. Many veterans suffer from Neural Hearing Loss, as they spent time around firearms, artillery and jet engines.
Tumors:- Examples of common tumors that can affect hearing include acoustic neuroma and cholesteatoma, abnormal skin growth in the middle ear.
Medications:- More than 200 drugs and chemicals are ototoxic, or harmful to your hearing health. Some of those that cause permanent damage include certain types of antibiotics, anti-inflammatory drugs, and cancer chemotherapy drugs.
Congenital Neural Hearing Loss
Congenital Neural Hearing Loss occurs during pregnancy. It is far rarer. Some causes include prematurity, maternal diabetes, lack of oxygen during birth, genetics, and infectious diseases from mother to child in the womb, such as rubella.
Thanks to newborn screening, some children born with hearing loss are diagnosed immediately and treated with hearing aids or kernel implants to help with language development.
What about a sudden sensual hearing loss?
Most of the time acquired Neural Hearing Loss occurs slowly. However, in rare cases, people may develop sudden sensual hearing loss, causing sudden deafness in one ear. If this happens to you, it is important to get medical care immediately.
How does this affect how you listen?
Sensorineural hearing loss affects the loudness and clarity of sounds you hear. You can also experience a reduced range of sounds that you find comfortable. Meaning, the soft and normal voice is very soft, but the loud voice becomes very quick and can really bother you. (In audiological terms, this is known as “recruitment”).
Sensorineural hearing loss can affect all categories of hearing. However, for people with age-related hearing loss, however, it is typical to experience what is known as high-frequency hearing loss, which results in reduced high-pitched hearing ability.
Many people with Neural Hearing Loss report that they can hear but struggle to understand speech. This is especially true in the presence of background noise and can be frustrating and exhausting to deal with.
Treatment of Neural hearing loss
Most often, the recommended treatment is a programmed hearing aid for your unique hearing loss. Simply amplifying all sounds will not help you hear better because some sounds will still be distorted. Proper testing and fitting are important.
In some cases – especially if hearing loss is severe or profound – a cochlear implant may be a better option.
If you suspect that you may have Neural Hearing Loss, the first step to better hearing is a thorough hearing examination from a qualified hearing healthcare professional. They can work with you to determine the cause and extent of your hearing loss, as well as develop a personalized plan to treat it. To find a hearing professional at a clinic in your area, visit our directory of consumer-reviewed clinics.