What Causes Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

what causes sensorineural hearing loss

To get to what causes sensorineural hearing loss, let me first explain what sensorineural hearing loss is.

According to Wikipedia Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is a type of hearing loss in which the root cause lies in the inner ear or sensory organ (cochlea and associated structures) or the vestibulocochlear nerve (cranial nerve VIII). SNHL accounts for about 90% of reported hearing loss. SNHL is generally permanent and can be mild, moderate, severe, profound, or total. Various other descriptors can be used depending on the shape of the audiogram, such as high frequency, low frequency, U-shaped, notched, peaked, or flat.

Ok, maybe we need simpler terms. Sensorineural hearing loss is basically a loss of hearing in the cochlea or auditory 8th nerve. Usually, this means there is nothing we can do but amplification of some sort such as hearing aids.

The cause of sensorineural hearing loss would be something that damaged the cochlea or auditory 8th nerve. That list can get really long but let’s just stick to the most common.

  1. Genetic: you can inherit sensorineural hearing damages from your family.
  2. Noise: a good rule is that if you must speak up over the noise it’s too loud. Here is a chart that is allowed by law in 2008.
Maximum job-noise exposure allowed by law
Sound level, decibels Duration, daily
90 8 hours
92 6 hours
95 4 hours
97 3 hours
100 2 hours
102 1.5 hours
105 1 hour
110 30 minutes
115 15 minutes or less


  1. Trauma: trauma can be sound trauma, or head trauma. Car accidents have been known to cause sensorineural hearing loss and sudden loud sounds can also cause hearing loss.
  2. Disease: There are several diseases that can cause sensorineural hearing loss to name a few.
    1. Diabetes
    2. Meniere’s disease
    3. AIDS
    4. Measles
    5. Syphilis
    6. Ramsay Hunt syndrome type II
  3. Age-related: As we age sometimes our bodies break down.
  4. Vitamin deficiency: especially vitamin D and Iodine deficiency.
  5. Ototoxic and neurotoxic drugs: Oto means ear – any drug that is toxic to your nerve or ear can potentially cause a sensorineural hearing loss.
  6. Brain stroke: a brain stroke in the auditory region can cause sensorineural hearing loss.

This is just a small list of what causes sensorineural hearing loss. To prevent hearing loss:

  1. Have your hearing tested this might stop more damage to your hearing if we can catch it early.
  2. Protect your ears, wear hearing protection.
  3. Careful with Ototoxic drugs
  4. Eat well keeping your nutrition and vitamins in check
  5. If undergoing cancer treatment, have your hearing tested before treatment starts and during the treatments. We can see if it’s causing a drop in your hearing. Sometimes the Doctors can adjust the treatment to help preserve hearing.

This is just a short list of the most common preventions and the most common ways to get sensorineural hearing loss. I hope this list was helpful to you.

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