Sensorineural hearing loss is the term used to describe hearing loss caused by damage to the inner ear. Sensorineural hearing loss is by far the most common cause of hearing loss and accounts for about 90% of cases of hearing loss.

Sensorineural hearing loss can be congenital or acquired. Congenital sensorineural hearing loss happens in the womb while acquired congenital hearing loss happens after birth.  Here the Hearing Centre audiologist Claire Marshall takes a look at some of the symptoms and causes of acquired bilateral sensorineural hearing loss…

The hearing loss is in both ears

Many cases of sensorineural hearing loss affect just one ear. By far the most obvious sign that you are experiencing bilateral sensorineural hearing loss is the fact that the hearing loss is affecting both of your ears at the same time. The partial deafness can be symmetrical, where the hearing loss feels the same in both ears, or asymmetrical where the levels of hearing loss are different in each ear.  When hearing loss is bilateral, the volume of the sounds around you will be reduced, while when hearing loss is only felt in one ear, it can manifest as difficulty locating the source of sounds and hearing background noise.

Causes of bilateral sensorineural hearing loss

The following are common causes of hearing loss:

  • Age: Losing hearing over time (presbycusis) is one of the most common effects of getting older and is thought to affect around one in three people between 65 and 74. Age-related hearing loss nearly always affects both ears equally and as such is the most common cause of bilateral sensorineural hearing loss.
  • Noise: Noise-related hearing loss can happen after a one-off noise such as explosion, or more prolonged noise such as a loud concert. Either way it’s important to arrange a hearing test as soon as possible.
  • Illness: Some viral infections like mumps, measles and meningitis can cause hearing loss. Certain antibiotic, anti-inflammatory and chemotherapy medications can also cause hearing loss.
  • Injury: Concussion caused by a blow to the head can also result in sensorineural hearing loss.

What to do if you are suffering from bilateral sensorineural hearing loss

Sudden hearing loss in both ears is always a reason to make an urgent appointment at the Hearing Centre for a comprehensive hearing assessment. Hearing loss that has evolved over time is just as important to treat, however because it happens gradually, often people don’t notice until the symptoms are quite advanced or until they realise they are experiencing the following:

  • Difficulty following conversations and repeatedly having to ask people to repeat themselves, particularly when there is background noise.
  • Noticing that other people comment that you are shouting on the phone and are turning your TV and music up louder than you used to.
  • Feeling drained or stressed after social events and even avoiding them to avoid the strain of trying to engage in conversations.

There is no need to get a medical referral to have a hearing assessment at the Hearing Centre’s locations in Leicester or Market Harborough and you are very welcome to bring a family member or friend with you.

What happens at my first appointment?

We will carry out a thorough hearing assessment starting with a consultation of your hearing and lifestyle habits. Using our state of the art equipment, we will then thoroughly examine your ear to check for infection, obstruction or build-up of wax. After that, we will move on to a full diagnostic assessment to make a diagnosis and recommendation for treatment.

If you require a hearing aid, we will be able to recommend the best option for you from our range of high quality options.

Hearing tests in Leicester

To book a hearing test with one of the Hearing Centre’s experienced audiologists, please call us on 0116 254 3909 or fill in our online booking form.