Sensorineural hearing loss

Understanding sensorineural hearing loss

This is the most common form of hearing loss and occurs when the tiny hair cells in the inner ear are damaged or when the hearing pathways to the auditory cortex become damaged.


Sensorineural hearing loss can be caused by a wide range of conditions but most commonly by the natural ageing process which accounts for around 90% of this type of hearing loss. It affects 1 in 7 people over the age of 65.

Causes of sensorineural hearing loss

Some of the causes are:

  • Age – gradual deterioration in hearing across both ears in high pitched sounds
  • Traumatic exposure to loud noise – This may be from a sudden, very loud sound or repeated exposure to high level sound. Hearing loss could be permanent or temporary.
  • Head injury – This can cause trauma to the cochlea and nerves in the ear
  • Viral infections of the inner ear and auditory nerve
  • Some drug treatments
  • Family history
  • Industrial noise exposure
  • Meniere’s disease
A man and a woman at a Bay Audiology clinic

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