Sensorineural Hearing Loss

What Causes Sudden Hearing Loss?

Sudden hearing loss can be caused by a number of factors. But, if you experience sudden hearing loss, it is important to be seen as soon as possible by your primary physician, an Ear Nose Throat physician or an Audiologist. The reason for this need to be seen immediately is that there are certain sudden hearing losses that can be reversed if you are seen and diagnosed with a sudden hearing loss. 

If you bypass a very important 48-72 hours, it is possible that your hearing loss can not be reversed. The only way to know is to go to see your Audiologist as soon as possible where a hearing test can be performed and necessary referrals can be made. 

Other reasons that can cause sudden hearing loss are: wax occlusion, perforated tympanic membranes, ear infections, noise exposure and injury to the ear such as hitting your head/ear.   The best way to determine what you need is to see your audiology professional, such as Dr. Mendoza at Optimum Audiology.

Causes:  Genetic

In some families, hearing loss is a trait or a gene that is passed down in the chromosomes. It is usually known by the family when a genetic link to hearing loss or deafness is in their family genetic line. However, it is also found that some children are born with genetic hearing loss to two hearing parents with no known genetic link to hearing loss. 

The great thing about the United States is they perform a newborn hearing screening on all babies born in the hospital. This screening is non-invasive and provides a way for the family to be referred for more extensive testing if the baby fails the hearing screening. If your baby fails a hearing screening, they will be referred to a local clinic for more extensive testing. If the baby is found to have hearing loss, they will be referred for hearing aids with the intention to fit the baby with some form of amplification before the age of 6 months in order to maximize their exposure to spoken words. 

Causes:  Congenital

Congenital hearing loss is hearing loss that is found at birth. It is related to a genetic condition in about 50% of the cases. 

The other 50% of the cases of congenital hearing loss are not hereditary in nature include prenatal infections, illnesses, toxins consumed by the mother during pregnancy or other conditions occurring at the time of birth or shortly thereafter. These conditions typically cause sensorineural hearing loss ranging from mild to profound in degree. Some known conditions are measles, mumps, and rubella.

Causes:  Presbycusis

Presbycusis is a terminology that signifies hearing loss due to aging. This is the most common form of sensorineural hearing loss. The use of the ear over many years causes the hair cells in the cochlea to be less reactive to sound due to use of the hair cells over and over. It is like a tire that slowly loses its tread over the use of the tire. The hair cells become damaged from day to day use, noise exposure, genetics, and external effects like medication. Presbycusis most often results in sensorineural hearing loss that can be corrected with hearing aids. 

Causes:  Noise

Noise exposure accounts for hearing loss in ages below the age of 65 years. When you are constantly and consistently exposed to loud noise, it puts a lot of pressure on the auditory system. This noise exposure can be found in the form of occupational noise, military noise, recreational noise and your genetic predisposition to be affected by noise. 

Occupational noise was more pronounced before the mandatory use of hearing protection. In today’s workplace, the workplace must provide hearing protection, yearly hearing screenings, and limited time in extreme noise conditions. Failure to provide resources for the person working in an occupational noise environment is increased risk of hearing loss at an early age. 

This is also true of military noise exposure. Those bases that have more constant noise exposure from military maneuvers, deployments and ongoing training with guns and loud equipment, can result in increased risk of noise exposure unless hearing protection is provided and worn by the individual. 

Recreational noise exposure can come from shooting guns, being around loud recreational vehicles such as power boats, power tools, compression tools, construction tools, and etc. The individual who is exposed to loud noise, especially for extended time frames, needs to be proactive and use hearing protection. 

Dr. Mendoza specializes in noise reduction products. These include, but are not limited by, custom hearing protection, active and passive noise reduction systems, and Peltors. If you are in need of noise reduction systems, please contact Optimum Audiology. We suggest regular hearing health check-ups, especially for individuals who are constantly exposed to loud noises (industrial, recreational, etc.)