Do you spend much time considering your nervous system? Probably not all that regularly. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t have to worry about how your neurons are communicating signals to the nerves of your body. But you will take a closer look when something goes wrong and the nerves start to misfire.
One particular disease called 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 to suggest that CMT can also cause high-frequency hearing loss.
Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease, What is it?
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a set of inherited conditions. The protective sheathing around the nerves fail to function properly due to a genetic condition.
As a result, the impulses sent from your brain to those nerves (and from those nerves back to your brain) don’t travel all that well. A loss of motor function and sensation can be the outcome.
A mixture of genetic factors commonly results in the appearance of symptoms, so CMT can be found in a few varieties. For many people who have CMT, symptoms begin in the feet and go up into their arms. And, high-frequency hearing loss, oddly, has a high rate of occurrence in those who have CMT.
The Cochlear Nerve: A Connection Between CMT and Loss of Hearing
The link between CMT and loss of hearing has always been colloquially supported (that is, everyone knows somebody who has a tells about it – at least within the CMT culture). And it was difficult 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 examined 79 people with CMT at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The findings were quite decisive. Low to moderate frequencies were heard nearly perfectly by those who had CMT. But high-frequency sounds (in the moderate region in particular) were effortlessly heard by all of the participants. According to this study, it seems probable that CMT can at least be connected to high-frequency loss of hearing.
The Cause of Hearing Loss and How to Treat It
At first, it could 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 properly functioning nerves. That’s also the same for your ears.
What many researchers hypothesize happens is that the cochlear nerve is impacted by the CMT – interfering with your ear’s ability to interpret and convey sounds in a high-frequency range. Anybody with this form of hearing loss will have a hard time hearing certain sounds, including voices. Trying to hear voices in a crowded noisy room is particularly difficult.
This kind of hearing loss is commonly managed with hearing aids. CMT has no known cure. Modern hearing aids can isolate the exact frequencies to boost which can offer significant help in fighting high-frequency hearing loss. The majority of modern hearing aids can also do well in loud settings.
Multiple Reasons For Hearing Loss
Experts still aren’t completely sure why CMT and hearing loss seem to co-exist quite so often (above and beyond their untested theory). But hearing aid technology offers an obvious treatment for the symptoms of that loss of hearing. That’s why many individuals with CMT will make time to sit down with a hearing care specialist and get fitted for a custom hearing aid.
There are a range of causes for hearing loss symptoms. In many situations, loss of hearing is caused by excessive exposure to harmful noises. Obstructions can be another cause. It also looks as if CMT is another possible cause.