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What is sensorineural hearing loss?

Sensorineural hearing loss is an extremely common type of hearing loss. This type of hearing loss affects the inner ear.

Why should my child have a hearing test?

An infant should have a hearing test if he or she did not pass the newborn hearing screening test in one or both ears. Even if your baby passed the newborn hearing screening test, your baby's hearing should be tested again if there is a reason why your baby might develop a hearing loss.

Your child's hearing also should be checked if:

  • She is not starting to understand words and to talk at the usual age.
  • She has frequent ear infections or persistent middle ear fluid.
  • You think your child is not responding normally to sounds.

Your doctor can help to determine whether your child's hearing should be tested again. All children should have a hearing screening test in preschool and/or before starting kindergarten.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss | Symptoms & Causes

What causes sensorineural hearing loss?

This type of hearing loss can happen at birth (congenital) or become acquired over time.



  • loud noise exposure
  • trauma
  • infections
  • damage from certain medications that can be harmful to the ears

Sensorineural Hearing Loss | Diagnosis & Treatments

Can sensorineural hearing loss be treated?

Some hearing problems are medically or surgically correctable if they are caused by middle ear fluid. Other hearing problems are treated with the use of hearing aids and speech and language therapy. If a hearing problem is found, your audiologist and pediatrician will arrange for your child to be seen by an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat specialist) and will guide you to other services to help your child learn to communicate.

How we approach sensorineural hearing loss

Our Audiology Program will perform the following tests:

  • auditory brain stem response (ABR) test
  • regular (behavioral) audiological evaluation
  • auditory processing
  • tympanometry
  • otoacoustic emissions (OAEs)

Additionally, our team will:

  • monitor the hearing loss
  • provide counseling to you and your family regarding the hearing loss
  • recommend hearing aids and ways to maximize the use of residual hearing
  • refer your child for additional language or developmental assessments
  • direct you to community resources for educational or financial assistance
  • refer your child to Habilitative Audiology to learn about the option of a cochlear implant if your child has a severe to profound hearing loss in both ears

Hearing Loss Experience Journal

The Hearing Loss Experience Journal is a collection of stories, pictures, and personal experiences contributed by children, teens, and young adults who are deaf or hard of hearing and their families. It represents the “collective wisdom” of these families as well as their health care providers. Read the journal here.

Sensorineural Hearing Loss | Programs & Services