A sensorineural hearing loss is a type of hearing loss that occurs when the hearing organ (known as the Cochlea) or the nerve connecting your hearing organ to your brain (known as the Auditory Nerve). Often this is described as an ‘age-related’ loss.
Sensorineural hearing loss is most common in adults over the age of 55 but can theoretically occur at any age. When someone is seen for their hearing test, this type of loss may be described as an age-related hearing loss. Approximately 90% of all diagnosed hearing loss falls within the sensorineural category, and it is proposed that almost 1 in 6 adults over 55 years old and 1 in 3 over 70 years old are likely to have a sensorineural hearing loss.
Whilst age is certainly a factor, there are other factors that contribute to this type of hearing loss. An ‘age-related’ hearing loss isn’t solely determined by the number of years one has lived. Genetics, environmental factors, disease, and noise exposure can all add to the everyday wear and tear of one’s ears and exasperate a sensorineural loss. This type of loss is usually slow, but progressive and irreversible, happening over the course of years and even decades. It can develop at different rates for different people.
Hearing aids can be prescribed when a person gets to a point where they are struggling with their hearing. They may start to find that certain situations in their life become harder to manage. For example, one may find that they have trouble hearing people speak in background noise or speaking to a loved one over the phone. Whilst hearing aids aren’t a magical cure to this problem, they can hugely improve the quality of someone’s hearing, making the situations that were previously difficult, manageable. For those who feel hearing aids aren’t for them, other solutions like lip-reading or sign language can also be an option. Hearing aids tend to be the most readily available option though.