Sensorineural Hearing Loss: What Is It?

Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Any sort of damage to the nerve of special sensory cells or lack of development in hair cells can lead to sensorineural hearing loss. A major portion of permanent loss in hearing is present at birth, and half of the cases are primarily due to genetics. In case, each parent has one gene for normal hearing, and one for hearing loss, the child may acquire both for hearing loss. Only in few cases, children may have following syndromes associated with the sensorineural hearing loss.

  • Usher’s
  • Pendred’s
  • Waardenburg’s
  • Jervell and Lange-Nielsen

This type of disorder can also be due to some type of pregnancy infection including, syphilis, cytomegalovirus, rubella and toxoplasmosis.

Acquired Hearing Loss

Although being blessed with normal hearing at birth, some children may acquire it because of some illness. Those who suffer from breathing problems at birth may need some safety measures, such as oscillating ventilator or mechanical ventilator. Use of such machines over a prolonged period of time can lead to loss of hearing.

Congenital diaphragmatic hernia is a condition where intestines are inside the chest cavity, thus increasing the risk of hearing disorder. Other key factors include exposure to sensitive medications and high bilirubin levels. It may not affect directly, but can cause damage to the inner ear, resulting in loss of hearing.

Even if your child passes the hearing test at birth, it is always recommended to keep a check on their hearing ability, in case they have had some potential health risks at birth. Make sure to get appointments at least twice a year for up to 5 years of age, in order to check for the beginning of a delayed sensorineural hearing loss.

This type of hearing impairment can also happen as a result of:

  • Side effect of certain medications that have been used to treat any infection, and may also have the potential to cause loss of hearing.
  • Exposure to excessive noise, particularly for prolonged period.
  • Mental trauma leading to severe concussion or fracture in the part of the skull protecting the ear.
  • Bacterial meningitis, leading to complete or partial hearing loss.

How To Deal With It

One of the easiest ways to help your child cope with sensorineural hearing loss is to provide them some sort of hearing aid. It’s even more important to diagnose the issue as early as possible, and have knowledge about the extent to which hearing has been lost. A series of professional hearing tests are required for young children and infant.

Proper hearing aids must be provided, once the degree of hearing loss is identified. Those with bilateral disorder conditions find it really helpful to undergo a therapy focused on developing their speaking and listening abilities.  Children who suffer from partial hearing loss of a greater degree requires development of auditory skills with intensive therapy focusing on hearing and speech abilities. Cochlear implantation is another alternative for kids with bilateral hearing loss in the mild to moderate range. It is possibly one of the most effective medical treatments out there for childhood hearing loss. Consult the ENT professional before implanting one!