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Although high noise exposure and age are the two main causes of Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL), inflammation may also play a part in the illness. In order to better understand and manage this frequent kind of hearing impairment, let’s find out what inflammation implies in the context of SNHL.

What is Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL)?

Damage to the inner ear or the nerves that connect the ear to the brain results in sensorineural hearing loss. This kind of hearing loss can impair one’s capacity to perceive speech effectively and to detect quiet noises, and it is frequently irreversible.

In contrast, inflammation is the body’s normal reaction to an injury or illness and is usually characterized by pain, swelling, redness, and warmth.

According to researches, SNHL may be influenced by inflammation during its onset and course. For example, inflammation caused by some autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, can damage the sensitive inner ear components, resulting in hearing loss. Furthermore, viral diseases like mumps or meningitis can cause inflammation in the inner ear, which can lead to SNHL.

However, what precise effects does inflammation have on hearing? Damage to the hair cells in the cochlea, the spiral-shaped structure in the inner ear that is in charge of translating sound waves into electrical impulses that are sent to the brain, is one theory for the process. Oxidative stress and the generation of dangerous chemicals known as free radicals can result from inflammation, harming these hair cells and affecting hearing.

Moreover, inflammation may impair blood and nutritional supply to the inner ear, depriving it of the resources required for normal operation. SNHL may be made worse by this oxygen and nutritional shortage, which can also accelerate the deterioration of hair cells and auditory nerve fibers.

Here are a few ways that inflammations and SNHL may be related:

  1. Congenital SNHL: This kind of hearing loss is present from birth and can be brought on by genetics, illnesses the mother received while pregnant (such as the CMV or rubella), difficulties giving delivery, or specific drugs the mother used while pregnant.
  2. Acquired SNHL: Owing to a number of circumstances, acquired SNHL can arise at any age after birth. These circumstances include:
    • Aging (Presbycusis): One of the most frequent causes of SNHL is the progressive loss of hearing brought on by aging. It usually affects high-pitched noises and gets worse with time.
    • Noise-induced Hearing Loss (NIHL): Extended exposure to loud noises, including loud music, guns, or heavy machinery, can harm inner ear hair cells, resulting in SNHL. If the right hearing protection is used, this kind of hearing loss could be avoided.
    • Ototoxic Medications: A number of pharmaceuticals, including high dosages of aspirin, chemotherapy drugs, and certain antibiotics (such as gentamicin), can harm the cochlea or auditory nerve, leading to SNHL.
  3. Viral illnesses: Meningitis, mumps, and measles are examples of viral illnesses that can inflame the inner ear and produce SNHL.
  4. Autoimmune Disorders: Diseases such as Ménière’s disease, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis can set off an immunological reaction that damages the inner ear and results in SNHL.
  5. Sudden Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL): This kind of hearing loss usually happens in less than 72 hours and happens quickly. Although the precise etiology of abrupt SNHL is frequently unclear, autoimmune illnesses, vascular diseases, viral infections, and trauma may all be contributing causes. For a potential recovery, prompt medical intervention is essential and frequently involves the use of corticosteroids.
  6. Progressive SNHL: This type of SNHL progressively becomes worse over time. It frequently begins with trouble hearing high-frequency noises and subsequently spreads to lower frequencies. Progressive SNHL may arise from autoimmune diseases, hereditary causes, or ailments such as Ménière’s disease.

Hearing Loss and Vertigo – Ménière’s Disease

Inflammation and Sensorineural Hearing Los: Treatment

Treatment options for sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) differ based on the condition’s severity and underlying cause. To find the best course of action that is customized to each patient’s needs, it is essential to confer with medical specialists including audiologists, otolaryngologists, and rheumatologists. Optimizing results and reducing the influence of these disorders on general health and well-being need early intervention and care.

For those with SNHL, hearing aids are frequently utilized to enhance communication and amplify sounds. For severe to profound SNHL, cochlear implants may be suggested as a direct means of stimulating the auditory nerve without affecting the damaged hair cells in the inner ear.

In a variety of settings, assistive listening devices such as FM radios or captioned phones can facilitate conversation, and when sudden sensorineural hearing loss (SSNHL) is present, doctors may give drugs such as corticosteroids to treat inner ear edema and inflammation.

Exercises for vestibular rehabilitation might help lessen symptoms and enhance balance if SNHL is linked to balance issues. In rare instances, surgery may be required to treat structural problems with the ear or implant devices like cochlear implants.

Impacts of Inflammation and Sensorineural Hearing Los on Job Performance

Due to physical, cognitive, social, and emotional variables, work performance might be adversely affected by inflammation and SNHL. Companies may help impacted workers by making concessions and encouraging a positive, diverse workplace. For the impact on work-life to be as minimal as possible, getting the right medical attention and successfully controlling underlying health concerns are essential.

Fatigue, low energy, and a general feeling of unwellness can result from inflammatory disorders, which can lower motivation and productivity at work. Physical chores might be difficult due to pain, stiffness, and movement difficulties caused by conditions like autoimmune disorders or arthritis. Certain inflammatory diseases can impair cognitive function, which is necessary for many professional duties and includes memory, attention, and decision-making skills. Increased absenteeism from doctor’s appointments, treatments, or times of illness may result from severe inflammation.

Speech comprehension can be difficult for those with SNHL, particularly in loud settings. This can cause miscommunication and reduced productivity. Communication and hearing issues among coworkers can hinder teamwork and collaboration and cause social isolation. Reduced awareness of ambient sounds, such as sirens or mechanical noises, might lead to safety issues. Ineffective hearing and communication skills can lead to stress, which lowers performance and overall job satisfaction. In occupations where there are particular hearing criteria, SNHL may restrict prospects for professional progression or employment.

Which Type of Hearing Loss Is the Most Common on the Job?



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If you, or anyone you know, worked in noise and suffers from hearing loss, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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