In modern medical practice, there is often a problem such as sensorineural hearing loss. This disease is associated with a gradual decrease in hearing. According to statistical data, the number of patients with a similar diagnosis has recently increased significantly. That is why information about the main causes and signs of the disease will be useful to many readers.
What is the disease?
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 (Corti's organ that turns vibrations into electrical impulses transmitted to nerve endings), auditory nerve or auditory centers in the brain.
Degrees of sensorineural hearing loss can be different, ranging from a slight decrease in sensitivity to sound until complete deafness. According to statistics, about 400 million people in the world today suffer from this pathology, and the number of reported cases is growing every year. Most often, young or mature working people are the victims of the disease. So what are the causes of its development and what are the first symptoms?
Forms and schemes of classification of the disease
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:
- nonsyndromal (the disease is accompanied only by a decrease in hearing, in 70-80% this particular form is diagnosed);
- syndrome, when, along with hearing loss, there is a development of other diseases (as an example, you can specify Pender's syndrome, in which the disturbance of 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 possible 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 appearance of the first symptoms. By the way, timely treatment, as a rule, helps to restore the work of the human hearing aid.
- Acute hearing loss - does not develop so quickly. As a rule, there is an increase in symptoms, which lasts about 10 days. It is worth noting that many patients try to ignore the problem by writing off the stuffiness of the ears and hearing loss for fatigue, accumulation of sulfur, etc. delaying the visit to the doctor. This negatively affects the health status, whereas 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 live with the disease for years, not even suspecting its presence. Hearing may decline for years until a constant, annoying tinnitus makes one consult a doctor. This form is much harder to give medicinal treatment, and it's not often possible to restore hearing. In some cases, this pathology leads to disability.
There are other classification systems. For example, hearing loss can be either one-way (it affects only one ear), and bilateral, can develop as in infancy (even before the child learns to speak), and in a more adult.
Degrees of development of sensorineural hearing loss
To date, it is common to distinguish four degrees of disease progression:
- Sensingural hearing loss of 1 degree - is accompanied by a decrease in the sensitivity threshold to 26-40 dB. A person at the same time can distinguish between sounds at a distance of 6 meters, and whispers - no more than three meters.
- Sensoryural hearing loss of the 2nd degree - 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 with the perception of sound can arise even in a calm quiet environment.
- The third degree of the disease is characterized by a sound threshold of 56-70 dB - a normal speech a person can distinguish at a distance of not more than a meter, and not in a noisy place.
- The threshold of perception of sound in the fourth stage is 71-90 dB - this is a serious disorder, sometimes down to total deafness.
The main causes of the disease
In fact, there are many factors, under the influence of which sensorineural hearing loss may develop. The most common are:
- frequent infectious diseases, in particular otitis media, influenza and other colds that can cause complications;
- vascular thrombosis;
- inflammatory diseases, for example, adenoiditis, labyrinthitis, meningitis;
- progressive atherosclerosis;
- acoustic trauma;
- craniocerebral trauma;
- autoimmune diseases;
- a tumor 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 on noisy production;
- constant listening to loud music;
- according to statistical studies, often from this disease suffer the inhabitants of large megacities.
Sensorineural hearing loss in children: congenital causes
The causes of acquired hearing loss were described above. Nevertheless, some children suffer from such a disease almost from birth. So what are the causes of the disease? There are a lot of them:
- genetic heredity (it is believed that almost 50% of the world's inhabitants are carriers of genes of some form of hearing loss);
- congenital snail aplasia or other anatomical abnormalities;
- intrauterine infection of the fetus with the rubella virus;
- the presence of an alcoholic syndrome in a pregnant woman;
- taking drugs by the mother;
- such a disorder can be a complication of syphilis;
- risk factors include early childbirth;
- sometimes deafness develops as a result of infection of the child with chlamydia during labor.
What symptoms are accompanied by the disease?
As already noted, the clinical picture can be different depending on the rate of progression of hearing loss. As a rule, first there is noise in the ears, it is also possible distortion of sounds. For example, some patients complain that all sounds are perceived as if in lowered tones.
Hearing loss develops gradually. People are having trouble trying to perceive sound in a noisy environment or a crowded company. As the disease develops, there are problems with communication over the phone. When talking with a person, the patient, as a rule, begins to unconsciously follow the movement of the lips, as it helps to distinguish sounds. Patients constantly ask again for words. As the disease develops, the problems become more pronounced - if the patient is not helped, the consequences can be sad.
Basic diagnostic methods
Deafness 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 of an ENT doctor. If in the course of the survey it was possible to reveal that the decrease in hearing is in no way connected with the structure and functions of the external ear, then other studies are conducted, in particular, tone threshold audiometry, tuning forks, impedance measurement, otoacoustic emission and some others. As a rule, in the process of diagnosis, specialists can find out not only the presence of developing pathology, but also the causes of its occurrence.
Sensorineural hearing loss: treatment
Immediately it is worth saying that self-medication in this case is unacceptable. The treatment plan 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 a disease can be medicated and depends on the reasons for its development. For example, in the presence of infection, anti-inflammatory, antiviral or antibacterial drugs are prescribed. In addition, B vitamins, as well as 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 by the methods of conservative medicine. And if the acute form of the disease is well amenable to drug treatment, then with chronic hearing loss such methods are unlikely to have an effect.
In some cases, the only way to return a person hearing is the use of 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, in some forms of the disease, 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 the hearing loss is associated with a violation of the Corti's organ, but the auditory nerve and the centers of the brain are working normally.