Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Causes, Symptoms, Treatments

 While SNHL isn’t considered a life-threatening disease, if not properly managed, you may experience a great reduction in your ability to communicate effectively. 

If you have sensorineural hearing loss, it’s important to get a hearing aid. But not all hearing aids are the same. Some are designed for severe hearing loss while some hearing aids are made for mild to moderate hearing loss. You need one that will work for your type of SNHL and fit comfortably in your ear canal.

Buying standard, over-the-counter hearing aids from drugstores or other retailers without getting expert advice first may just waste your time and money. You may struggle with the devices and end up being unhappy about how they sound and feel.

Audiologists can help you find the right kind of device for your needs. Hearing healthcare professionals can also make sure it fits well and works properly.

Common Causes

When exposed to loud noises, the structures in your inner ear can be damaged. This may lead to sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL). It is a form of hearing loss that affects more than 90% adults and has many causes such as genetic factors or natural aging processes.

Viral infections, including measles and meningitis can cause sensorineural hearing loss. Head or acoustic trauma such as a blow to the head or exposure to extremely loud noise like an explosion can also damage your inner ear which triggers sensorineural hearing loss.

SNHL and Aging

Hearing loss is a natural part of aging, but it doesn’t have to be debilitating or make you feel old.

There are many types and degrees of hearing loss that can range from mild to severe with the degree depending on how much damage your ears have endured over time.

While SNHL isn’t considered a life-threatening disease, if not properly managed, you may experience a great reduction in your ability to communicate effectively.

Types of Sensorineural Hearing Loss


Bilateral sensorineural hearing loss – Also known as single-sided deafness or functional deafness, this condition is a profound and permanent hearing loss present in both ears. People with bilateral sensorineural hearing loss need to turn their head towards the source of sound.


Unilateral sensorineural hearing loss – It is often caused by a tumor or blood clot but sometimes occurs without any clear cause. Unilateral sensorineural hearing loss affects the ability to hear sounds on one side of the body out of a person’s ipsilateral ear. The most common causes are tinnitus, sudden deafness (acoustic trauma), Meniere’s disease, and tumors located at cerebellopontine junction-inferior olive region.


Asymmetrical sensorineural hearing loss – Vestibular schwannomas and intracranial tumors can lead to asymmetrical sensorineural hearing loss as their only presenting symptom. It is important that these cases be identified so they are not missed. A diagnosis of these conditions will essentially depend on MRI imaging or lumbar puncture combined with audiometry, vestibulography or electronystagmography. Asymmetrical sensorineural hearing loss may occur as a late complication from the aging process, but this is rare.

How does sensorineural hearing loss affect hearing?

Inner ear damage can be a debilitating condition that prevents patients from hearing the simplest of noises.  Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), which happens when your inner ears are damaged or when there’s some sort of interference with nerve pathways to your brain. SNHL makes it hard to hear soft sounds and even louder ones, too.

If this seems like something you’re experiencing, seek the help of hearing healthcare professionals.  If you happen to be at Massachusetts, Atlantic Hearing Care is here to help you with your hearing problems.

Many people are uncertain of what type of hearing loss they have, especially when there’s so many different types. Sensorineural hearing is the most common form in which you can be born with and not even know it until your deafness starts to worsen over time.

Can sensorineural hearing loss be corrected?

Hearing loss can be a life-altering event that drastically changes the way we adapt to our surroundings. Unfortunately, this type of hearing impairment is permanent and irreversible but there IS something you CAN do about it – surgery.

Scientists are working on an innovative way to cure sensorineural hearing loss. They plan to stimulate hair cells in the brain through surgery with a device that emits signals similar to sound waves, but without any damaging electromagnetic radiation.  This breakthrough technique is still being developed and there’s no telling when it will be available for use by patients who suffer from the condition.

In the meantime, hearing aids help millions of people hear more clearly and understand conversation better.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss Treatment, Massachusetts

Hearing loss can be a damaging condition that alters the quality of life for many people. However, there are methods to help improve both speech and other sounds so that people with hearing loss can still enjoy their lives to the fullest. If you feel as if your hearing may not be as good as it used to be, take the initiative to contact an audiologist right away. Properly diagnosing the problem can help in facilitating accurate and effective treatments.   Audiologists at Atlantic Hearing Care are experts in determining the types of hearing loss and choosing the best treatments for recovery.

The first step towards better hearing health is an appointment with our expert staff. Contact us today:

Make an Appointment

Two Convenient Locations


990 Paradise Rd, Suite 3A
Swampscott, MA 01907


2 First Ave, Suite 127-1
Peabody, MA 01960


Call 781-581-1500

Send Us a Message