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Sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL) is a type of hearing loss in which the root cause lies in the vestibulocochlear nerve (Cranial nerve VIII), the inner ear, or central processing centers of the brain.
The Weber test, in which a tuning fork is touched to the midline of the forehead, localizes to the normal ear in people with this condition. The great majority of human sensorineural hearing loss is caused by abnormalities in the hair cells of the organ of Corti in the cochlea. Sensory hearing loss that results from abnormalities of the central auditory system in the brain is called central hearing impairment. This type of hearing loss can also be caused by prolonged exposure to very loud noise, for example, being in a loud workplace without hearing protection, or having headphones set to high volumes for a long period. Congenital cholesteatoma - squamous epithelium is normally present on either side of the tympanic membrane. Physical trauma - either due to a fracture of the temporal bone affecting the cochlea and middle ear, or a shearing injury affecting cranial nerve VIII.
Perilymph fistula, usually due to a rupture of the round or oval windows and the leakage of perilymph. Cerebellopontine angle tumour (junction of the pons and cerebellum) (the cerebellopontine angle is the exit site of both the facial nerve(CN7) and the vestibulocochlear nerve(CN8).
Populations living near airports or freeways are exposed to levels of noise typically in the 65 to 75 dbA range. The most common type of congenital hearing impairment in developed countries is DFNB1, also known as Connexin 26 deafness or GJB2-related deafness. The most common dominant syndromic forms of hearing impairment include Stickler syndrome and Waardenburg syndrome.
The most common recessive syndromic forms of hearing impairment are Pendred syndrome, large vestibular aqueduct syndrome and Usher syndrome.
Autoimmune disease has only recently been recognized as a potential cause for cochlear damage.
Mumps (epidemic parotitis) may result in profound sensorineural hearing loss (90 dB or more), unilaterally (one ear) or bilaterally (both ears). Adenoids that do not disappear by adolescence may continue to grow and may obstruct the Eustachian tube, causing conductive hearing impairment and nasal infections that can spread to the middle ear. Otosclerosis is a hardening of the stapes (or stirrup) in the middle ear, and causes conductive hearing loss.
Some medications cause irreversible damage to the ear, and are limited in their use for this reason. There can be damage either to the ear itself or to the brain centers that process the aural information conveyed by the ears. People who sustain head injury are especially vulnerable to hearing loss or tinnitus, either temporary or permanent. Exposure to very loud noise (90 dB or more, such as jet engines at close range) can cause progressive hearing loss.
Previously, sensorineural hearing loss has been treated with hearing aids, which amplify sounds at preset frequencies to overcome a sensorineural hearing loss in that range; or cochlear implants, which stimulate the cochlear nerve directly.
Some research suggests idebenone alone or combined with vitamin E may delay the onset of hearing loss or perhaps reverse it.[4] Use of these agents for this purpose is considered experimental now. 6 The Detection Question – Absolute Threshold: Absolute threshold is the weakest level of stimulus that can be detected 50% of the time.


8 Why does signal detection theory appear to be more credible than absolute threshold theory?
10 Subliminal Messages: Subliminal techniques have occasionally been used in advertising, propaganda, and even music. 11 The Difference Question – Just noticeable difference: A difference threshold is the minimum difference between two stimuli that is detected 50% of the time.
12 Weber’s Law: Weber’s Law – Difference thresholds increase in proportion to the size of the stimulus. 14 Sensory Adaptation: Sensory adaptation is the disappearance to repetitive or unchanging stimuli Think about a hot tub – when you first get in, you think it is really hot. 16 Hearing 101: Sight will always been our most used sense, though hearing is a close second Hearing (audition) is most helpful for language transmission So, how does the process of hearing work? 19 Physical Characteristics of Sound Waves Wavelength - distance in one cycle of a wave, from one crest to the next Amplitude is the amount of energy in a wave, its intensity, which is the height of the wave at its crest (dB) Frequency is the number of times a sound wave cycles in one second Pitch – The highness or lowness of the sound (Hz) Timbre (pronounced “TAM-bur”) The distinguishing quality of sound Can you tell the difference between a trumpet playing a C# and a guitar playing a C#? 25 Locating Sounds: Sound Localization Sound Localization – the process by which you determine the location of a sound. 32 An Eye on the World Retina Neural tissue lining the back of the eyeball’s interior, which contains the receptors for vision.
36 Trichromatic Theory Young (1802) & von Helmholtz (1852) both proposed that the eye detects 3 primary colors: red, blue, & green All other colors can be derived by combining these three.
There are also very unusual sensorineural hearing impairments that involve the eighth cranial nerve (the vestibulocochlear nerve) or the auditory portions of the brain. Since the auditory pathways cross back and forth on both sides of the brain, deafness from a central cause is unusual. Externally, within the external auditory meatus or ear canal and internally within the middle ear.
Meniere's disease is characterized by sudden attacks of vertigo, lasting minutes to hours preceded by tinnitus, aural fullness, and fluctuating hearing loss. If lifestyles include significant outdoor or open window conditions, these exposures over time can degrade hearing. Recent gene mapping has identified dozens of nonsyndromic dominant (DFNA#) and recessive (DFNB#) forms of deafness. Although probably rare, it is possible for autoimmune processes to target the cochlea specifically, without symptoms affecting other organs. It is considered by some to be a degenerative process, although there has never been a proven link to aging.
There has been speculation radio talk show host Rush Limbaugh's hearing loss was at least in part caused by his admitted addiction to narcotic pain killers, in particular Vicodin and OxyContin. Exposure to a single event of extremely loud noise (such as explosions) can also cause temporary or permanent hearing loss. Discuss basic principles of sensory transduction, including absolute threshold, difference threshold, signal detection, and sensory adaptation.
The purpose, effectiveness, and the frequency of the application of such techniques is debated.
Example: When you are in a noisy environment you must shout to be heard while a whisper works in a quiet room.
When you “hear” a sound, your ear picks up the sound waves and converts them into neural impulses that you perceive as music or language.


There is a split second delay on sounds that are coming at you from the left or right side because both ears hear the sound differently. Place Theory – The position on the basilar membrane at which waves reach their peak depends on the frequency of a tone. In the rarest of these sorts of hearing loss, only the auditory centers of the brain are affected.
There are both external causes of damage, like noise trauma and infection, and intrinsic abnormalities, like deafness genes. Within the middle ear the simple epithelium gradually transitions into ciliated pseudostratified epithelium lining the Eustachian tube now known as the pharyngotympanic tube becoming continuous with the respiratory epithelium in the pharynx. A history of an event that increased intracranial pressure or caused trauma is usually present). For example, the safe daily exposure amount at 85 dB is 8 hours, while the safe exposure at 91 dB(A) is only 2 hours (National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, 1998). If a family has a dominant gene for deafness, it will persist across generations because it will manifest itself in the offspring even if it is inherited from only one parent. Example: If a person turns up your IPOD just a hair, you probably will not hear the difference (even though there is one) Subliminal messages are perceived below your absolute threshold. Just-noticeable difference Example: Car stereo – how much do you have to turn up the volume to notice a “real” difference? Transduction – The transformation of stimulus energy to the electrochemical energy of neural impulses.
In this situation, central hearing loss, sounds may be heard at normal thresholds, but the quality of the sound perceived is so poor that speech can not be understood.
The squamous epithelium hyperplasia within the middle ear behaves like an invasive tumour and destroys middle ear structures if not removed. EPA and various states have set noise standards to protect people from these adverse health risks.
If a family had genetic hearing impairment caused by a recessive gene, it will not always be apparent, as it will have to be passed onto offspring from both parents.
This causes three tiny bones called the ossicles (hammer, anvil, stirrup) in your middle ear to vibrate 3. The EPA has identified the level of 70 db(A) for 24 hour exposure as the level necessary to protect the public from hearing loss (EPA, 1974). Yes Signal detection theory – There is no absolute threshold – fatigue, motivation, and expectations can change this.
Inside the cochlea is the basilar membrane with hair cells that are bent by the vibrations and transduce this mechanical energy to electrochemical neural impulses.
Finally, auditory neurons stimulate the auditory nerve which transmits sound messages through your medulla, pons, and thalamus to the auditory cortex of the temporal lobes.



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