Updated April 3rd, 2024 at 21:39 IST

Sensorineural Hearing Loss: How To Avoid Falling Prey To 'Sudden Deafness'

The thought of simply going deaf overnight is as daunting as it gets. Here's taking a look SNHL, at the condition which makes this a possibility.

Ear health | Image:Unsplash

Very simply put, Sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL, is the result of damage to inner ear structures or the auditory nerve. Loud noises, genetic factors, or aging are the primary motivating factors for the condition. As per medical terms, the inner ear or the cochlea houses tiny hair cells called stereocilia, which convert sound vibrations into electrical signals transmitted to the brain by the auditory nerve. Here's taking a deep dive into understanding the condition.


What are the types of sensorineural hearing loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss can either be bilateral, unilateral, asymmetrical or sudden. Genetics, exposure to loud noise, and illnesses such as measles can cause bilateral SNHL. Sudden exposure to loud noise, a tumour or Meniere’s disease can cause unilateral SNHL. Asymmetrical SNHL in this regard refers to loss of hearing in both ears, albeit at a disproportionate level.


Coming to sudden SNHL, while the condition can very well develop over time, there is also an abundance of cases wherein the condition sees an onset overnight. Head trauma, autoimmune diseases, blood circulation issues, inner ear disorders or severe infections can lead to 'sudden deafness'.

What lifestyle changes can be made to avoid sensorineural hearing loss?

While sudden exposure to loud sounds and head trauma among other possibilities make up the set of catalysts resulting in SNHL, a significant number of cases are also due to genetic factors. Taking an active interest in your ear health then, assumes immense importance, irrespective of age. Certain external lifestyle changes worth considering include making sure you do not breach the recommended volume level when using headphones - additionally, always protect your ears with a pair of handy earplugs when exposed to loud sounds.


Taking an active interest in one's ear health, also involves taking at least two to three trips to the doctor each year to get a routine checkup and hearing tests done. 


Published April 3rd, 2024 at 21:39 IST