St. Luke's Hospital
Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
America's 50 Best Hospitals
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia

    Print-Friendly
    Bookmarks

    Sensorineural deafness

    Nerve deafness; Hearing loss - sensorineural; Acquired hearing loss; SNHL; Noise-induced hearing loss; NIHL

    Sensorineural deafness is a type of hearing loss. It occurs from damage to the inner ear, the nerve that runs from the ear to the brain (auditory nerve), or the brain.

    Considerations

    Symptoms may include:

    • Some sounds seem too loud.
    • You have problems following conversations when two or more people are talking.
    • You have problems hearing in noisy areas.
    • It is easier to hear men's voices than women's voices.
    • It is hard to tell high-pitched sounds (such as "s" or "th") from one another.
    • Other people's voices sound mumbled or slurred.
    • You have problems hearing when there is background noise.

    Other symptoms include:

    • Feeling of being off-balance or dizzy (more common with Meniere's disease and acoustic neuromas)
    • Ringing or buzzing sound in the ears (tinnitus)

    Causes

    The inner part of the ear contains tiny hair cells (nerve endings), that change sounds into electric signals. The nerves then carry these signals to the brain.

    Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is caused by damage to these special cells, or to the nerve fibers in the inner ear. Sometimes, the hearing loss is caused by damage to the nerve that carries the signals to the brain.

    Sensorineural deafnessthat ispresent at birth (congenital) is most often due to:

    • Genetic syndromes
    • Infections that the mother passes to her baby in the womb (toxoplasmosis, rubella, herpes)

    Sensorineural hearing loss may develop in children or adults later in life (acquired) as a result of:

    • Age-related hearing loss
    • Disease of the blood vessels
    • Immune disease
    • Infections, such as meningitis, mumps, scarlet fever, and measles
    • Injury
    • Loud noises or sounds, or loud sounds that last for a long time
    • Meniere's disease
    • Tumor, such as acoustic neuroma
    • Use of certain medicines
    • Working around loud noises everyday

    In some cases, the cause is unknown.

    What to Expect at Your Office Visit

    The goal of treatment is to improve your hearing. The following may be helpful:

    • Hearing aids
    • Telephone amplifiers and other assistive devices
    • Sign language (for those with severe hearing loss)
    • Speech reading (such as lip reading and using visual cues to aid communication)

    A cochlear implantmay be recommended for certain people with very severe hearing loss. Surgery is done to place the implant. The implant makes sounds seem louder, but does not restore normal hearing.

    You will also learn strategies for living with hearing loss and advice to share with those around you for talking to someone with hearing loss.

    References

    Hildebrand MS, Husein M, Smith RJH. Genetic sensorineural hearing loss. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2010:chap 147.

    Arts HA. Sensorineural hearing loss in adults. In: Cummings CW, Flint PW, Haughey BH, et al, eds. Otolaryngology: Head & Neck Surgery. 5th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Mosby Elsevier;2010:chap 149.

    Noise-Induced Hearing Loss. National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders. NIH Pub. No. 97-4233. Updated: October 2008.

    Chau JK, Lin, JRJ, Atashband, S, Irvine, RA, Westerberg, BD. Systematic review of the evidence for the etiology of adult sensorineural hearing loss. The Laryngoscope. 2010, Vol 120(5): 1011-1021.

    BACK TO TOP

    • Ear anatomy

      illustration

      • Ear anatomy

        illustration

      Self Care

        Review Date: 5/28/2013

        Reviewed By: Luc Jasmin, MD, PhD, FRCS (C), FACS, Department of Neurosurgery at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles CA; Department of Surgery at Los Robles Hospital, Thousand Oaks CA; Department of Surgery at Ashland Community Hospital, Ashland OR; Department of Surgery at Cheyenne Regional Medical Center, Cheyenne WY; Department of Anatomy at UCSF, San Francisco CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Bethanne Black, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.

        The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
        adam.com

        A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.


        Back  |  Top
        About Us
        Contact Us
        History
        Mission
        Locations & Directions
        Quality Reports
        Annual Reports
        Honors & Awards
        Community Health Needs
        Assessment

        Newsroom
        Services
        Brain & Spine
        Cancer
        Heart
        Maternity
        Orthopedics
        Pulmonary
        Sleep Medicine
        Urgent Care
        Women's Services
        All Services
        Patients & Visitors
        Locations & Directions
        Find a Physician
        Tour St. Luke's
        Patient & Visitor Information
        Contact Us
        Payment Options
        Financial Assistance
        Send a Card
        Mammogram Appointments
        Health Tools
        My Personal Health
        mystlukes
        Spirit of Women
        Health Information & Tools
        Clinical Trials
        Health Risk Assessments
        Employer Programs -
        Passport to Wellness

        Classes & Events
        Classes & Events
        Spirit of Women
        Donate & Volunteer
        Giving Opportunities
        Volunteer
        Physicians & Employees
        For Physicians
        Remote Access
        Medical Residency Information
        Pharmacy Residency Information
        Physician CPOE Training
        Careers
        Careers
        St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
        Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Patient Notice of Privacy Policies PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile