Do you spend much time thinking about your nervous system? Most likely not all that regularly. As long as your body is working in the way that it should, you’ve no reason to think about how your neurons are firing or whether nerves are sending proper messages along the electrical pathways of your body. But you tend to take a closer look when something goes wrong and the nerves begin to misfire.
One particular disease known as Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease which typically affects the extremities can also have a fairly wide-scale affect on the whole nervous system. And there’s some evidence that implies that CMT can also cause high-frequency loss of hearing.
What Is Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease?
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a set of inherited disorders. The protective sheathing around the nerves malfunction due to a genetic disorder.
The result is that the impulses sent from your brain to those nerves (and from those nerves back to your brain) don’t progress all that well. A loss in motor function and sensation can be the outcome.
CMT can be present in numerous variations and a mixture of genetic considerations normally result in its expressions. Symptoms of CMT commonly 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 Hearing Loss
The connection between CMT and loss of hearing has always been colloquially supported (that is, everybody knows someone who has a story about it – at least inside of the CMT community). And it seemed to mystify people who suffered from CMT – the ear didn’t appear all that related to the loss of feeling in the legs, for example.
A scientific study firmly established the connection just recently when a group of scientists evaluated 79 people with CMT at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The findings were rather conclusive. Low to moderate frequencies were heard nearly perfectly by those with CMT. But all of the individuals showed hearing loss 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 hearing loss.
What is The Cause of Hearing Loss And How Can it be Addressed?
The connection between high-frequency hearing loss and CMT could, at first, seem puzzling. But everything in your body, from your eyebrows to your toes, relies on the correct functioning of nerves. That also goes for your ears.
The hypothesis is, CMT affects the cochlear nerve so noises in the high-frequency range aren’t able to be interpreted. Certain sounds, including some voices, will be hard to hear. Trying to hear voices in a crowded noisy room is especially hard.
Hearing aids are usually used to treat this form of hearing loss. There’s no recognized cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can isolate the precise frequencies to boost which can offer appreciable assistance in fighting high-frequency hearing loss. In addition, most modern hearing aids can be adjusted to work well inside of noisy environments.
There Can be Various Causes For Hearing Loss
Beyond the unconfirmed hypothesis, it’s still uncertain what the connection between CMT and high-frequency hearing loss. But this form of hearing loss can be efficiently managed using hearing aids. That’s why lots of individuals who have CMT will take the time to sit down with a hearing professional and get a fitting for a custom hearing aid.
Hearing loss symptoms can occur for a wide variety of reasons. In many cases, loss of hearing is brought about by excessive exposure to damaging noises. In other situations, loss of hearing might be the result of a blockage. It also looks as if CMT is another possible cause.