The great majority of human sensorineural hearing loss is caused by abnormalities in the hair cells of the organ of Corti in the cochlea. There are also very unusual sensorineural hearing impairments that involve the eighth cranial nerve (the vestibulocochlear nerve) or the auditory portions of the brain. In the rarest of these sorts of hearing loss, only the auditory centers of the brain are affected. In this situation, central hearing loss, sounds may be heard at normal thresholds, but the quality of the sound perceived is so poor that speech cannot be understood.
Most sensory hearing loss is due to poor hair cell function. The hair cells may be abnormal at birth, or damaged during the lifetime of an individual. There are both external causes of damage, like noise trauma and infection, and intrinsic abnormalities, like deafness genes.
Sensory hearing loss that results from abnormalities of the central auditory system in the brain is called central hearing impairment. Since the auditory pathways cross back and forth on both sides of the brain, deafness from a central cause is unusual.
This type of hearing loss can also be caused by prolonged exposure to very loud noise, for example, being in a loud workplace without hearing protection, or having headphones set to high volumes for a long period.
Previously, sensorineural hearing loss has been treated with hearing aids, which amplify sounds at preset frequencies to overcome a sensorineural hearing loss in that range; or cochlear implants, which stimulate the cochlear nerve directly.
Some research suggests idebenone alone or combined with vitamin E may delay the onset of hearing loss or perhaps reverse it. Use of these agents for this purpose is considered experimental now. Some audiologists and ENTs have reported if severe noise-induced hearing loss (exposures exceeding 140dB) is treated immediately (within 24 hours) with a course of steroids, it can often be almost completely reversed. This, however, is a new field without proven success.
Researchers at the University of Michigan report that a combination of high doses of vitamins A, C, and E, and Magnesium, taken one hour before noise exposure and continued as a once-daily treatment for five days, was very effective at preventing permanent noise-induced hearing loss in animals
If you have any questions about hearing loss or have any hearing related issues contact Hidden Hearing.