Login      Sign Up

Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss

Author: Dr. Vasantha K S - Ear health
Last reviewed at: 03.Oct.2018  



Bilateral sensorineural hearing loss refers to a condition where there is a hearing loss in both the ears due to the hair cells of the inner ear being damaged. This article deals with the causes, types, symptoms, and treatment of SNHL.
Image: Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss


What is Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

Our ears have three portions namely outer, middle, and inner ear. When the inner ear is damaged, sensorineural hearing loss occurs. It is referred to as sensorineural because the inner ear and hearing nerve need to work together for proper hearing.

What Causes Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

There are many different conditions which can damage the inner ear, but they are broadly grouped into two types,


It is a type of hearing loss seen at birth. Reasons include:

  • Low birth weight.
  • Premature birth.
  • Inherited deafness.
  • Maternal infections such as rubella and German measles during pregnancy.

Acquired hearing loss

It is developed at a later stage in life, unlike the congenital type. Reasons include:

  • Presbycusis (age-related hearing loss).
  • Prolonged exposure to loud noise.
  • Viral infections such as measles, meningitis, and mumps.
  • Acoustic trauma due to exposure to loud sounds such as firearms or explosions.
  • Ototoxic drugs such as certain antibiotics and chemotherapy drugs.
  • Ear tumors and growths may also affect the hearing health.

What are the symptoms of Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss?

  • Those with bilateral sensorineural hearing noise can hear muffled sounds but not understand the context of what is being spoken and this leads to gradual isolation.
  • There is reduced sensitivity to soft sounds. This causes problems with communication, interpersonal skills. It also affects learning and school performance in young children.
  • Perception of loud sounds is altered causing social withdrawal and loneliness.

How is Bilateral Sensorineural Hearing Loss Treated?

A thorough evaluation of the extent of the hearing loss is necessary to be conducted by a hearing health professional who would diagnose the actual type of hearing loss and suggest appropriate treatment.

In case of bilateral hearing loss, which is mild to moderate, hearing aids may help. But, in case of severe hearing loss, even using hearing aids will not help as it would just amplify the distorted sounds and in the presence of background noise, it would lead to more confusion and frustration.

In that case, cochlear implants may be the solution. A cochlear implant is an electronic device that is placed in the ear surgically and stimulates the hearing nerve by converting sound waves directly to electrical impulses.



Ask your health query to a doctor online?
* guaranteed answer within 4 hours.

Related Questions & Answers

Query: Hello doctor, For my work which needs concentration, I need a noise cancellation headphone which filters out sounds. Is there any chance of hearing loss or impairment with use for 10 to 12 hours a day?
Dr. Mehak Agarwal
ENT Otolaryngologist

Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. Yes, you should not use headphones for more than three hours in your case. It also depends on what frequency and what decibel of sound the noise cancellation masker will have. You can rather use ear plugs. For more information consult an ENT otolaryngologist online --...  Read Full »
Query: Hi doctor,I am a 46 year old man having diagnosed with a bilateral sensorineural hearing loss. I have been experiencing this for the last two months. Please suggest any ayurveda treatment for the same?
Dr. Alka
Ayurveda Specialist

Answer: Hello, Welcome to icliniq.com. As it is a physiological degradation disease, the treatment falls into two categories pharmacological and surgical treatment. However, no recommended or approved treatment has been present, and many types of research are still going on. Hearing aids are the most common...  Read Full »
Query: Hi doctor,Five days back, my son put a plastic stick into his ears and the membrane got damaged and blood came out. We went to the doctor immediately. He gave us Azithromycin to give the child and told us to keep his ear safe from air, water and, all other materials. He also told us to watch out for...
Dr. Fazil Shajahan
ENT Otolaryngologist

Answer: Hello, Welcome to icliniq.com.Since there was damage to the membrane you need to be careful. It can cause a decrease in the hearing if the damage does not heal properly or get infected. If pus is coming from the ear, kindly consult a nearby ENT doctor and take treatment for the infection. It can tak...  Read Full »
Query: Hello doctor, My wife lost her hearing for the past 30 hours. I took her to the doctor and he said it is because of typhoid fever. My wife got fever 15 days back. So, what should we do? Will she get her hearing back?
Dr. Priyanka Aggarwal

Answer: Hi, Welcome to icliniq.com. According to audiometry (attachment removed to protect patient identity), she is having a nerve loss. Acute, sudden hearing loss is possible after typhoid or any other viral fever. Mostly, it is not 100% recoverable. If she is absolutely fine, then I suggest her tablet N...  Read Full »
Query: Hello doctor,My 68 year old mother has a hearing problem. I understand it is due to her age but is there any device which can enhance the hearing in her case?
Dr. Vinay S Bhat
ENT Otolaryngologist

Answer: Hello, Welcome to icliniq.com. There are various causes for hearing problems. Among them, the most common one is an age-related hearing loss known as presbycusis. If hearing loss is significant and confirmed by an audiological examination such as pure tone audiogram, she can use hearing aids. Hear...  Read Full »