SoundSpace Online

Sensori-neural Hearing Loss

A sensori-neural hearing loss occurs when there is damage within the structures of the cochlea (inner ear) or auditory nerve. It is sometimes called nerve deafness, but this can be misleading.  The coiled structure of the inner ear is lined by hair cells and is full of fluid. Damage to these hair cells result in loss of hearing – which may be at different frequencies and differing intensities. Thus it may result not only in the reduction of loudness of sounds, but the sound perceptions may be distorted.  This type of deafness is nearly always permanent and not curable. 

Causes of sensori-neural deafness include:

  • Genetic, e.g. syndromes such as Pendred’s syndrome
  • Virus/Infection during pregnancy or birth eg rubella, cytomegalovirus (CMV)
  • Premature birth
  • Trauma
  • Ototoxic drugs
  • Exposure to loud noise over time
  • Tumour

Sensori-neural hearing loss is usually managed by hearing aids, cochlear implants, or other implantable devices.

A mixed loss describes where the individual has a sensori-neural and a conductive hearing loss. Please see below for the cochlear nerve/auditory nerve and a detailed picture of the cochlea.