What is Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss?
Hearing loss is of two main types: one is conductive hearing loss in which there is problem within the eardrum or ossicles, which comprises the middle ear. The second type of hearing loss is sensorineural hearing loss in which the patient has damage in the cochlea or hearing nerve, which comprises the inner ear.
Patient can have hearing loss on one side, that is in one ear (unilateral) or the hearing loss can be present in both the ears (bilateral). A person suffering from sensorineural hearing loss in both the ears is said to have Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss.
What is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?
A sensorineural hearing loss is where there is damage to the hair cells present in the cochlea, which is the hearing organ; or the neural pathways of the nerves responsible for hearing can get damaged. In sensorineural hearing loss, it is not always possible to identify the part where the damage has occurred for which reason it is collectively listed as sensorineural hearing loss.
What are the Causes of Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss?
There are many causes for Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss, which include:
Age (Presbycusis): Aging causes gradual deterioration in the hearing in the high pitched sounds. About 1 in 7 people who are 65 years of age are affected by Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss.
Genetic/Non Genetic Causes: Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss can be caused by different types of syndromes, which can occur as a result of genetic or non genetic causes.
Ménière’s Disease: Ménière’s Disease causes periodic accumulation of excess fluid in one part of the inner ear, which puts pressure and affects the balance and hearing organ.
Benign Tumor (Acoustic Neuroma): The hearing nerve can get compressed by a benign tumor and can cause hearing loss commonly affecting high pitch hearing. Patient can also have imbalance problems and tinnitus along with hearing loss.
Infectious Diseases: Infectious Diseases, such as meningitis, mumps and measles can cause Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss of varying degrees in the cochlea.
Loud Noise (Noise Induced Hearing Loss): Patient can suffer from temporary or permanent Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss, which is caused by exposure to excessively loud noises.
Trauma to the Head: Any injury or trauma to the head, such as a skull fracture can cause damage to the hearing nerve or cochlea resulting in Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss.
Inner Ear Infection: This can be a bacterial or viral infection, which can cause Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss that can be of sudden onset and of different degrees of severity.
Ear Surgery: There is a risk of hearing loss in ear surgeries due to injury to the inner ear from surgical instruments.
Ototoxic Medication: These medicines can cause permanent or temporary damage to the cochlea, commonly affecting the high pitches.
Unknown Causes: Sometimes there is no known cause identified for Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss.
What is the Treatment for Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss?
Bilateral sensorineural hearing loss or unilateral sensorineural hearing loss cannot be reversed. However, sensorineural hearing aids are very helpful in many cases. Surgery can partially treat some patients with sensorineural hearing loss.