Can sensorineural hearing loss get better?

Sensorineural hearing loss is a common form of hearing loss in the UK. Here, we explain what SNHL is and answer the commonly asked question, can sensorineural hearing loss get better?

What is sensorineural hearing loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL, is a type of hearing loss that’s caused by damage to the tiny hair cells that line the inner ear. Some people only experience sensorineural hearing loss in one ear (unilateral hearing loss), while others develop it in both (bilateral hearing loss).

What causes sensorineural hearing loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss can happen when the hair cells in the ear are damaged through prolonged exposure to loud noises, for example when working in particularly loud environments.

Other causes include diseases such as meningitis, mumps, multiple sclerosis or ménières disease, and the use of certain kinds of medication. You may also be more likely to develop SNHL if your mother had rubella while pregnant, or if you were born with low birth weight.

One of the biggest causes of sensorineural hearing loss is ageing. According to the Royal National Institute for Deaf People (RNID), more than 40% of people aged over 50 have a degree of hearing loss in the UK, rising to more than 70% of those aged over 70.

How can I find out whether I have sensorineural hearing loss?

The symptoms of sensorineural hearing loss tend to develop slowly and gradually get worse over time. If you think you may be suffering from sensorineural hearing loss, it’s important to get your hearing checked by a professional.

A diagnostic hearing test at Almond Hearing will reveal any form of hearing loss that you might have so that appropriate treatment can begin.

During your hearing test at our clinic in Livingston, the integrity of your outer, inner and middle ear will be assessed as well as your level of hearing overall. We use the very latest technology, including video otoscopy to look for any blockages in the ear canal or damage to the tympanic membrane, along with a tympanogram to assess the flexibility of the eardrum and uncover any eustachian tube malfunction. Pure-tone audiometry will be used to confirm your hearing thresholds, while speech testing will demonstrate your functional hearing capability.

Can sensorineural hearing loss get better?

Unfortunately, the answer to ‘can sensorineural hearing loss get better?’ is no. Sensorineural hearing loss is usually permanent as the hair cells inside the ear are unable to repair themselves and they can’t be replaced. If the cause of your sensorineural hearing loss is ongoing – for example, ageing – then you may also find that your hearing loss gets worse with time.

How can sensorineural hearing loss be treated?

Thankfully, those who suffer from sensorineural hearing loss can benefit greatly from the use of hearing aids, or, in more severe cases, cochlear implants. At Almond Hearing, we stock hearing aids from all of the world’s leading manufacturers.

If you want to find out more about the different types of hearing aid available, visit our Livingston clinic for expert advice. Our friendly and highly-experienced staff will prescribe the right hearing aid for you and ensure that it is fitted correctly. As an independent provider, we are able to select the most appropriate solution for each individual client, so you can rest assured that your ears are in the best hands.