Do you spend much time considering your nervous system? Most likely not all that regularly. As long as your body is working as it is supposed to, you’ve no reason to consider how your neurons are firing or whether nerves are sending proper messages through the electrical pathways in your body. But you tend to pay more attention when something fails and the nerves begin to misfire.
One specific disease known as Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease that generally affects the extremities can also have a pretty wide-scale affect on the entire nervous system. And there’s some evidence that implies that CMT can also lead to high-frequency loss of hearing.
Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease, What is it?
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a set of inherited conditions. In essence, these genetic disorders cause something to go wrong with your nerves or with the protective sheathing surrounding your nerves.
There is an issue with how impulses move between your brain and your nerves. Functionally, this can result in both a loss in motor function and a loss of feeling.
CMT can be found in a number of varieties and a combination of genetic considerations usually result in its expressions. Symptoms of CMT normally begin in the feet and go up to the arms. And, oddly, among those who have CMT, there is a higher rate of occurrence of high-frequency hearing loss.
The Cochlear Nerve: A Link Between CMT and Loss of Hearing
The connection between CMT and hearing loss has always been colloquially supported (that is, everyone knows somebody who has a tells about it – at least inside of the CMT culture). And it was hard to recognize the connection between loss of sensation in the legs and problems with the ears.
A scientific study firmly established the connection just recently when a group of researchers evaluated 79 people with CMT at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The findings were quite conclusive. Low to moderate frequencies were heard almost perfectly by those who had CMT. But all of the people showed loss of hearing when it came to the high-frequency sounds (usually across the moderate levels). Based on this research, it seems pretty likely that CMT can at least be linked to high-frequency loss of hearing.
What is The Cause of Hearing Loss And How Can it be Addressed?
At first, it may be puzzling to attempt to figure out the link between high-frequency hearing loss and CMT. Like all other parts of your body rely on correctly functioning nerves. Your ears are exactly the same.
What the majority of researchers hypothesize occurs is that the cochlear nerve is affected by the CMT – interfering with your ear’s ability to translate and transmit sounds in a high-frequency range. Certain sounds, including some voices, will be hard to hear. Trying to understand voices in a crowded noisy room is particularly hard.
Hearing aids are commonly used to treat this kind of hearing loss. CMT has no known cure. Modern hearing aids can isolate the exact frequencies to amplify which can provide significant help in combating high-frequency hearing loss. Additionally, most modern hearing aids can be adjusted to function well inside of noisy environments.
Hearing Loss Can Have Many Causes
Experts still aren’t entirely sure why CMT and loss of hearing seem to co-exist quite so frequently (above and beyond their untested theory). But hearing aid tech provides a definite treatment for the symptoms of that loss of hearing. That’s why countless people with CMT will make time to sit down with a hearing care specialist and get a fitting for a custom hearing aid.
There are a range of causes for hearing loss symptoms. In many cases, loss of hearing is triggered by excessive exposure to damaging noises. Blockages can be another cause. It also looks like CMT is another possible cause.