What Is Slowly Progressive Hearing Loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss that occurs slowly over time in adults can be due to many conditions. The most common causes of this type of hearing loss include age related hearing loss (presbycusis) or noise induced hearing loss. There are tiny sensory organs called hair cells in the inner ear. These cells are responsible for turning sound signals into nerve signals that can be sent to the brain. These cells can become damaged as a result of the aging process or excessive noise exposure over time. There can be associated internal noises called tinnitus as well. A medical evaluation should be performed to determine the nature of the hearing loss and any other associated conditions.

What is the Evaluation Process?

Patients with tinnitus undergo a full ear nose and throat evaluation in addition to testing such as audiogram. Further studies such as MRI or CT may also be ordered.

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Most causes of sensorineural hearing loss are not directly treatable with surgery or medicine. For patients with significant hearing loss, a hearing aid is the most effective treatment. Hearing aids are also very helpful for the alleviation of tinnitus. Some patients have hearing loss that is so severe on both sides that even hearing aids are not useful. These patients may benefit from cochlear implants.

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