As we get older our risk for hearing loss increases. While many other factors such as noise exposure, certain illnesses and genetic conditions can make a person more predisposed to hearing loss, aging is one of the most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL).
Sensorineural hearing loss occurs when there is damage in your inner ear. Specifically, damage to the tiny hair cells in your cochlea, known as stereocilia. Once these hair cells are damaged, it is permanent. Sometimes damage to the auditory nerve can cause this condition as well.
Symptoms of Sensorineural Hearing Loss
While you might not experience all of these symptoms, if you have SNHL you may notice:
- Muffled hearing
- Difficulty following conversations, especially in places with a lot of background noise like Hartford Steak Co. Tavern.
- Trouble understanding higher pitched voices like those of women and children
- A sensation of “fullness” in the ear or that the ear is plugged up
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ear)
SNHL can be gradual or come on suddenly. However, when it is age-related (known as presbycusis) it happens slowly over time and tends to occur in both ears, though one may be more affected than the other.
Diagnosing Sensorineural Hearing Loss
If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms of SNHL, we recommend that you make an appointment with an audiologist as soon as possible to test your hearing. Getting your hearing checked out can help determine:
- The cause of your hearing loss
- How well you can hear speech
- What type of hearing loss you have
- The severity of your hearing loss
While it’s understandable you might feel apprehensive about getting your hearing tested, the sooner you address the problem and get treatment the better the outcome will be. These tests are a quick, easy and painless way to protect your hearing health.
Depending on the cause and type of hearing loss you have, as well as the severity, your audiologist will recommend the appropriate treatment. Hearing aids are often recommended for cases of SNHL.
The benefits of hearing aids go beyond simply improving your ability to understand speech and sound. Those who choose to treat their hearing loss with hearing aids are known to have better overall health, professional success and emotional well-being than those who don’t.
For more information about hearing aids or to schedule a hearing test, call the experts at Ear, Nose & Throat Consultants and Hearing Services and take control of your health today.