The 5 Most Common Causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Sudden sensorineural hearing loss or SSHL is an unexplained loss of hearing in one or both ears, and in most cases, it’s a medical emergency. Those who suffer from SSHL usually use hearing aids or cochlear implants to improve their hearing.

Also referred to as sudden deafness, SSHL usually comes with old age, and it is, unfortunately, permanent. It can be congenital or acquired, but in both cases, it occurs due to damage to the hair cells of the inner ear or the pathways leading from the inner ear to the brain. Discover the most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss.

1. Noise

Noise is probably the most common cause of sensorineural hearing loss. NIHL or noise-induced hearing loss can be caused by one-time loud noises or exposure to sounds louder than 85 decibels for prolonged periods of time. These can cause serious damage and lead to total hearing loss.

2. Aging

Ripe old age might bring wisdom, but it also brings many medical conditions. One of the most common among them is age-related hearing loss, also sometimes referred to as presbycusis. Since it occurs over a very long period of time and it usually affects both ears, it is not that easy to notice.

3. Trauma

A strong blow to the head is one of the most common causes of sensorineural hearing loss. Such injuries cause significant damage to your inner ear, which leads to hearing loss.

4. Other Medical Conditions

Viral infections such as mumps, measles, and meningitis can also cause sensorineural hearing loss. Tumors are common culprits as well. Most commonly, these are cholesteatoma which is actually a skin growth in the middle ear, or acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor known for affecting the auditory system.

5. Medications

According to American Speech-Language-Hearing Association, there are more than 200 different medications which can lead to hearing loss. These include aspirin, gentamicin, and loop diuretics.


The common causes of sensorineural hearing loss are often associated with other medical conditions. ButSSHL can also be congenital, or it can come with old age.

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