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What Is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

by | Mar 15, 2022 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

Because hearing is so vital to living a fulfilled and happy life, I believe it’s in the power of my team and me to continue to educate our wider Upstate community on identifying a hearing loss.

The most common type of cases we see here in our clinic is what is called sensorineural hearing loss. This type is found in 9 out of 10 patients who experience a hearing loss.

With decades of experience, my team and I are equipped to diagnose, treat, and provide continued counseling with a range of hearing conditions and would be happy to partner with you or your loved one to help you achieve better hearing.

Advising residents of the Upstate on how to prevent sensorineural hearing loss is always our first step of defense against hearing loss, but if you believe your hearing is no longer optimal, then we can help you start your path to healthier hearing today.

What Is Considered Hearing Loss?

With so much information about hearing loss readily available online, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where to start and what is credible.

Identifying hearing loss, especially in yourself is difficult – since the problem often occurs gradually over a long period, meaning changes are hard to recognize.

The World Health Organization defines hearing loss as “a person who is not able to hear as well as someone with normal hearing, meaning hearing thresholds of 20 dB or better in both ears.”

To help further this explanation, the chart below explains decibels by using common sounds as examples of each peak of decibel level.

common sounds

Causes Of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

As mentioned earlier, prevention is the key. To prevent this effectively, we must know the source of the problem.

A loud noise is defined by anything over 85 decibels. This is slightly louder than a lively conversation. Meaning there are many occupations out there that expose their employees to harmful sound levels and sometimes do not offer ear protection.

Those who work in factories, workshops, and construction sites are at the highest risk of experiencing SNHL. We highly recommend that hearing protection is always worn when surrounded by loud machinery.

Even hobbies such as going to concerts or riding motorcycles can cause damage due to prolonged exposure.

Basic earplugs will be worth their weight in gold and are handy to keep around all the time. They are discrete and inexpensive, so you can have more than one pair to keep your hearing safe no matter what situation you may find yourself in.

How Does Sensorineural Hearing Loss Occur In The Ear?

Your ear has three main aspects: inner, outer, and middle. SNHL affects the inner ear, where most of the delicate bones and hairs reside. When one of these aspects is affected, it hinders the signal being sent from your ear to your brain.

When this pathway is defective, a person will struggle to decipher certain sounds, tones, and pitches – leading to hearing loss.

Conversely, loud noises are heard but are more muffled. A person with a sensorineural hearing loss will be able to recognize that you’re talking to them, but they may not understand the speech. Hearing speech in noise is a key evaluation we perform at Upstate Hearing Aid Center to ensure we accurately diagnose our patients for real-world environments.

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How Is Sensorineural Hearing Loss Diagnosed?

Determining your type of hearing loss can only be done by a professional. Online tests are unreliable, as they don’t consider your medical history, hearing habits, and personal preference. They also cannot offer a neutral sound environment, which means your results most likely won’t be accurate.

Our comprehensive hearing assessment will give us all the details we need to properly diagnose your issue and provide a detailed plan for improving your hearing.

Treatments For Sensorineural Hearing Loss

As of right now, there is no cure for SNHL. However, there are advanced treatment options available which will provide you with better hearing for life if you decide to partner with an audiologist.

Prescription hearing aids are our greatest asset in the fight against hearing loss. The technology has advanced so far in the past decade that these little devices are capable of so much more than just amplifying sound.

They are discrete, and the batteries last a lot longer than the ones your parents used. We work with all the top brands in the industry to find you the perfect match.

If you have any questions regarding your hearing, please call us at your earliest convenience. We are always standing by, ready to assist everyone in Greenville and Upstate South Carolina communities.

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Virginia Wright, AuD.

Virginia (Ginny) Wright has practiced as an audiologist for almost 40 years, primarily in the Upstate, but also in settings as varied as Philadelphia, PA and Key West, FL. An active participant in community and professional associations, she is a Past President of the South Carolina Academy of Audiology as well as a former member of the South Carolina Board of Licensing in Speech Pathology and Audiology. Dr. Wright received her B.S. in Speech Pathology from Mississippi University for Women, her M.A. in Audiology from The University of Tennessee, and her clinical doctorate (AuD) in Audiology from Arizona School of Health Sciences. Her commitment to her patients is evident in her enthusiasm to help them on their journey to better hearing. Dr. Wright loves movies, documentaries, dining out, reading, and spending time with friends. She lives in Greer with her two cats, Lana and Helen.

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