(SNHL) occurs when there is damage to the (cochlea), or to the nerve pathways from the inner ear to the brain. Most of the time, SNHL cannot be medically or surgically corrected. This is the most common type of permanent hearing loss. SNHL reduces the ability to hear faint sounds. Even when speech is loud enough to hear, it may still be unclear or sound muffled.
Sensorineural hearing loss can be mild, moderate, or severe, including total deafness.
This type of hearing loss can also be caused by prolonged exposure to very loud noise, for example, by wearing headphones on full blast for a few hours.
In addition to advancing age, sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by:
- Excessive noise exposure
- Viral infections (such as measles or mumps)
- Ototoxic drugs (medications that damage hearing)
- High fever
- Ménière's disease
- Acoustic tumors