Sensorineural hearing loss: degrees, treatment

In modern medical practice, such a problem as sensorineural hearing loss is quite common. This disease is associated with a gradual decrease in hearing. According to statistics, the number of patients with a similar diagnosis has recently increased significantly. That is why information about the main causes and symptoms of the disease will be useful to many readers.

What is a disease?

sensorineural hearing loss in children

Sensoneural hearing loss is a disease that is associated with a general decrease in hearing, which can be caused by damage to the inner ear (a cortic organ that turns vibrations into electrical impulses transmitted to the nerve endings), the auditory nerve, or the auditory centers in the brain.

The degrees of sensorineural hearing loss can be different, ranging from a slight decrease in sensitivity to sound to complete deafness. According to statistics, about 400 million people in the world today suffer from this particular pathology, and the number of registered cases of the disease is growing every year. Most often, the victims of the disease are young or mature working people. So what are the causes of its development and what are the first symptoms?

Forms and classification schemes of the disease

sensorineural hearing loss of 1 degree

To date, there are many classification systems for this disease. For example, sensorineural hearing loss can be divided into congenital and acquired. In turn, congenital pathology happens:

  • nonsyndromic (the disease is accompanied only by hearing loss; in 70-80% this form is diagnosed);
  • syndromic, when, along with hearing loss, the development of other diseases is observed (as an example, Pender syndrome, in which impaired sound perception is associated with a simultaneous functional change in the functioning of the thyroid gland).

Depending on the clinical picture and the rate of progression of the disease, it is customary to distinguish three main forms, namely:

  • A sudden (rapid) form of the development of the disease, in which the pathological process is formed very quickly - the patient partially or completely loses hearing for 12-20 hours after the onset of the first symptoms. By the way, timely treatment, as a rule, helps to restore the functioning of the human hearing system.
  • Acute hearing loss - does not develop so quickly. As a rule, an increase in symptoms is observed, which lasts about 10 days. It is worth noting that many patients try to ignore the problem, attributing congestion to ears and hearing loss to fatigue, sulfur accumulation, etc., postponing a visit to the doctor. This negatively affects the state of health, while immediately started therapy several times increases the chances of successful treatment.
  • Chronic sensorineural hearing loss is perhaps the most complex and dangerous form of the disease. Its course is slow and sluggish, sometimes patients for years live with the disease, not even suspecting its presence. Hearing can be reduced over the years until a constant, annoying tinnitus makes you see a doctor. This form is much more difficult to treat with medication, and quite often it is not possible to restore hearing . In some cases, such a pathology leads to disability.

There are other classification systems. For example, hearing loss can be either one-sided (affects only one ear), and two-way, it can develop in infancy (even before the child learns to speak), and in more adult.

The degree of development of sensorineural hearing loss

degree of sensorineural hearing loss

To date, it is customary to distinguish four degrees of disease progression:

  • Sensoneural hearing loss of 1 degree - is accompanied by a decrease in the sensitivity threshold to 26-40 dB. At the same time, a person can distinguish sounds at a distance of 6 meters, and a whisper - from no more than three meters.
  • Sensoneural hearing loss of 2 degrees - in such cases, the patient's auditory threshold is 41-55 dB, he can hear at a distance of no more than 4 meters. Difficulties in sound perception can occur even in a calm, quiet environment.
  • The third degree of the disease is characterized by a sound threshold of 56-70 dB - a person can distinguish normal speech at a distance of no more than a meter, and not in a noisy place.
  • The threshold for sound perception in the fourth stage is 71-90 dB - these are serious disorders, sometimes up to complete deafness.

The main causes of the development of the disease

sensorineural hearing loss 2 degrees

In fact, there are many factors under the influence of which sensorineural hearing loss can develop. The most common include:

  • frequent infectious diseases, in particular otitis media, influenza and other colds, which can cause complications;
  • vascular thrombosis;
  • inflammatory diseases, for example, adenoiditis, labyrinthitis, meningitis;
  • otosclerosis;
  • progressive atherosclerosis;
  • acoustic trauma;
  • head injuries;
  • autoimmune diseases;
  • swelling between the cerebellum and the bridge;
  • the use of certain drugs, in particular salicylates, aminoglycosides;
  • damage to the auditory nerve or inner ear by chemicals, toxins;
  • work in noisy production;
  • constant listening to loud music;
  • According to statistical studies, residents of large cities often suffer from such a disease.

Sensorineural hearing loss in children: congenital causes

The causes of acquired hearing loss have been described above. Nevertheless, some children suffer from a similar disease almost from birth. So what are the causes of the disease? There are quite a lot of them:

  • genetic heredity (it is believed that almost 50% of the world's inhabitants are carriers of genes of one form or another of hearing loss);
  • congenital aplasia of the cochlea or other anatomical abnormalities;
  • intrauterine infection of the fetus with rubella virus;
  • the presence of a pregnant woman with alcohol syndrome;
  • taking drugs by the mother;
  • a similar disorder may be a complication of syphilis;
  • risk factors include early birth;
  • sometimes hearing loss develops as a result of infection of the child with chlamydia during childbirth.

What are the symptoms of the disease?

As already noted, the clinical picture may be different depending on the rate of progression of hearing loss. As a rule, tinnitus first appears, and distortion of sounds is also possible. For example, some patients complain that all sounds are perceived as if in low tones.

Hearing loss develops gradually. People have difficulty trying to perceive sound in a noisy environment or crowded company. As the disease develops, telephone communication problems occur. When talking with a person, the patient, as a rule, begins to unconsciously monitor the movement of the lips, as this helps to distinguish sounds. Patients constantly ask again words. As the disease progresses, problems become more pronounced - if you do not provide the patient with help, the consequences can be sad.

Basic diagnostic methods

sensorineural hearing loss

Hearing loss is a very serious problem, so if you have any symptoms, you should immediately consult a doctor. Diagnosis in this case is a complex process that begins with an examination by an ENT doctor. If during the examination it was possible to identify that the hearing loss is not connected in any way with the structure and functions of the outer ear, then other studies are being conducted, in particular, tonal threshold audiometry, tuning forks, impedance measurement, otoacoustic emission and some others. As a rule, in the process of diagnosis, specialists manage to find out not only the presence of a developing pathology, but also the causes of its occurrence.

Sensorineural hearing loss: treatment

sensorineural hearing loss treatment

Immediately it is worth saying that self-medication in this case is unacceptable. The treatment regimen is selected by the attending physician after a thorough diagnosis. So what to do with the diagnosis of "sensorineural hearing loss"?

Treatment of an acute form of the disease can be medication and depends on the causes of its development. For example, in the presence of infection, anti-inflammatory, antiviral or antibacterial drugs are prescribed. In addition, vitamins of group B and E can be prescribed. In the presence of severe edema, diuretics and hormonal drugs are used.

When is prosthetics necessary?

Alas, sensorineural hearing loss can not always be cured with the help of conservative medicine. And if the acute form of the disease lends itself well to medical treatment, then with chronic hearing loss such methods are unlikely to have an effect.

chronic sensorineural hearing loss

In some cases, the only way to get a hearing back is to use a hearing aid. By the way, modern models have small dimensions and high sensitivity, which makes them convenient to use.

Thanks to the achievements of modern otosurgery for some forms of the disease, the so-called cochlear implantation is possible , which involves placing special electrodes in the inner ear that can stimulate the auditory nerve. This technique is used only if hearing loss is associated with a disruption in the functioning of the corti's organ, but the auditory nerve and brain centers are functioning normally.


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