A sensorineural hearing loss is when there is damage or an abnormality of the inner ear. There a numerous factors that can cause this, including genetics, viruses, noise exposure or medication. It can be something you are born with, or something that happens suddenly, or gradually over time.
The more severe the level of hearing loss, the more likely the person will experience a degree of distortion of sound in addition to loss of audibility. Often the hearing is worse in the high frequencies. This means that someone will report that they can hear, but speech isn’t clear, or that the hearing difficulty experienced is worse in noisy situations such as restaurants.