Sensorineural Hearing Loss (SNHL)
Hearing loss explained
Sensorineural hearing loss, or SNHL, is the medical term for hearing loss caused by damage and death of auditory sensory nerve cells. SNHL is simply and commonly called hearing loss because it accounts for more than 90% of all hearing loss.
Humans are born with about 31,000 auditory nerve cells in the inner ear, called the cochlea. The cochlea is tiny, a spiral cone shaped like a snail’s shell, about half the size of the fingernail on your little finger.
These cells, commonly called hair cells, convert sound waves into electrical signals by oscillating in inner ear fluid in response to sound waves. The electrical signals travel through supporting auditory nerve cells to the auditory cortex in the brain, translating that signal into sound we understand.
Hearing cells are irreplaceable
The important thing is that unlike other cells in our bodies, these auditory nerve cells don’t reproduce. SNHL is a permanent and irreversible disability because once a hearing cell dies it never comes back. Damage to these cells is biochemical and the consequences are neurological. The biological damage can lead to permanent hearing and cognitive disabilities.
Free radical biology
The relatively new science of free radical biology plays a fundamental role in SNHL. Free radicals are oxidative molecules that initiate cellular energy production in the mitochondria. They are essential for maintaining normal cell function, but they’re unstable. Antioxidant systems built into cells are designed to eliminate oxidative stress by neutralizing free radicals, eliminating them through the blood, so they don't create restricted blood flow.
Hearing loss is a biological disorder
Auditory neuroscience research conducted by leading labs over several decades revealed that environmental stress from intense noise in particular triggers massive overproduction of inner ear free radicals, overwhelming cellular antioxidant systems. When cells are unable to neutralize these free radicals, the toxic molecules initiate cell damage and ultimately cell death, resulting in hearing loss.
Soundbites can help
Noise may be risky for your hearing if it is loud enough to require raising your voice, leaning closer to someone or shouting in their ear. Most often, cell damage and cell death caused by noise exposure progresses slowly over time and the brain adapts, so it may take a decade or more to notice. By then hearing loss has become a permanent disability.
However, noise induced hearing damage and hearing loss can happen much faster as noise level intensities increase. At worst, permanent hearing loss can occur in a matter of minutes, hours or days, depending on the intensity of the exposure.
The auditory neuroscience research and the Soundbites solution focus on keeping irreplaceable inner ear nerve cells happy, healthy and alive. Soundbites tames free radical-induced oxidative stress to maintain normal auditory function, prolonging the lives of hearing cells when they would otherwise be injured.
Frequently asked questions
Yes. Age-related hearing loss, called ARHL, and noise-induced hearing loss, called NIHL, are the two most common types of sensorineural hearing loss (SNHL), which is hearing loss caused by the death of inner ear nerve cells. Noise is such a dominant form of SNHL that we just call it hearing loss.
Conventional wisdom is that age-related hearing loss happens to older people, but that is no longer accurate. Age-related hearing loss is rising quickly among children and young adults, mainly because of more routine and frequent exposure to intense levels of sound and noise.
The root cause of NIHL and ARHL is oxidative stress and restricted inner ear blood flow caused by excess inner ear free radicals. Hearing cells tend to produce additional free radicals as they age, moreso when they are damaged, and noise is the dominant source of that damage. NIHL accelerates ARHL, and the root cause of NIHL and ARHL is the same.
ARHL now frequently starts in adolescence. According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 12.5% of children and adolescents aged 6–19 years (approximately 5.2 million) have already suffered permanent damage to their hearing from excessive exposure to noise. So to describe the reality accurately, it may be appropriate to combine NIHL with ARHl into noise accelerated hearing loss, or NAHL.
No prescription drugs are available for preventing hearing loss. Given what we know about the biology of its root cause, a hearing preservation vaccine is extremely unlikely. Drug development is focused instead on hearing regeneration. Several pharmaceutical candidates are in development, but none are close to being approved.
Yes. Soundbites helps maintain the normal auditory function of hearing cells, regardless of how sound gets to your inner ear, regardless of the level of your hearing loss. Independent clinical evidence indicates that Soundbites can improve hearing sensitivity within three months of daily use. If you rely on hearing aids, the amplification level of your hearing aids may seem to increase, which indicates improvement in hearing sensitivity. If you are under the care of an audiologist, you may wish to compare the data from your audiograms and distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAE) tests from before and after taking Soundbites.
Independent evidence suggests it’s likely to notice changes in hearing sensitivity within three months of taking Soundbites daily, but keep in mind that hearing function is affected by a wide variety of factors including your age, genetics, lifestyle and life quality like nutrition, so individual predictions are not possible. But whether or not you notice, you can be certain that Soundbites is doing what we say it does, helping your hearing cells work the way they’re supposed to work, free of oxidative stress that compromises normal auditory function and damages hearing.
Soundbites starts working within thirty minutes, so you may notice a difference quickly if your ears are under a high level of oxidative stress and able to recover quickly. For example, one customer who lives in a quiet, remote location takes Soundbites before using her riding mower, because she used to experience muffled hearing from the noise even though she wore earmuffs, and she notices that doesn’t happen when she uses Soundbites.
DPOAE tests performed by an audiologist confirm objective improvements in hearing sensitivity among patients taking Soundbites, but Soundbites cannot claim you will perceive any differences in your hearing or tinnitus symptoms, or improvement in your hearing sensitivity.