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What Is Auditory Neuropathy?  – The Human Ear

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Auditory nerve

The human skull has twelve pairs of nerves connected to the brain. One of them, responsible for balance and hearing, is the auditory nerve, also called the vestibulocochlear nerve or the stat acoustic nerve. Its role is key to communicate, as it is responsible for processing the auditory impulses from the outer ear. For this reason, when the auditory nerve is damaged and does not work properly, hearing loss always occurs. In this post we explain in detail what the auditory nerve is made up of two nerves of its own:

The cochlear nerve, which carries information about sound, and the vestibular nerve, which carries information about balance. When the first fails, our hearing suffers. When the second is not working well, the consequence is dizziness.

The sensorineural hearing loss is one that can be caused by a problem in the auditory nerve. In these cases, sound is correctly transmitted through the outer and middle ear. The limitation is located in the inner ear. The result is a reduction in the perception of sound intensity and quality. The origin of this hearing loss can be aging, although apart from presbycusis we also find other possible causes, such as trauma, exposure to loud noises, Meniere’s syndrome and meningitis. Also the ototoxic medications can trigger this type of hearing loss.

The appropriate hearing solution for a neurosensory loss is hearing aids, especially if only one ear is affected and it is also mild or moderate. If it is deep, it is likely that the solution indicated by the specialist is an Osseo integratedimplant, which transfers the sound directly to the inner ear in the form of vibrations and without forcing the ear canal.

What is the role of the outer and inner hair cells?

The outer hair cells help amplify sound vibrations that enter the inner ear from the middle ear. When hearing functions normally, the inner hair cells convert these vibrations into electrical signals that travel as nerve impulses to the brain. There, the brain interprets the impulses as sound.

The outer hair cells, which lie next to and outnumber the inner hair cells, are generally more prone to damage than the inner hair cells. However, in people with auditory neuropathy, the outer hair cells appear to function normally.

Acoustic neuroma and auditory nerve

Another problem that affects the auditory nerve and involves hearing loss is acoustic neuroma, a non-cancerous (benign) tumor that originates from the growth of Schwann cells present in the vestibular nerve. For this reason, apart from causing hearing loss, this tumor also causes ringing in the ear (tinnitus) and dizziness.

Once an acoustic neuroma has been detected, the first step will be its periodic control. Then, depending on the affectation (its size, basically), it is possible to opt for radiation or surgical intervention.

Another problem that affects the auditory nerve and involves hearing loss is acoustic neuroma, a non-cancerous (benign) tumor that originates from the growth of Schwann cells present in the vestibular nerve. For this reason, apart from causing hearing loss, this tumor also causes ringing in the ear (tinnitus) and dizziness.

Once an acoustic neuroma has been detected, the first step will be its periodic control. Then, depending on the affectation (its size, basically), it is possible to opt for radiation or surgical intervention.