How frequently do you contemplate your nervous system? For most people, the answer would probably be not very often. As long as your body is working as it is supposed to, you have no reason to consider how your neurons are firing or whether nerves are sending proper messages through the electrical corridors in your body. But you will take a closer look when something fails and the nerves start to misfire.
One specific disease known as Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease which normally affects the extremities can also have a pretty wide-scale impact on the overall nervous system. And there’s some evidence that implies 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 disorders. Effectively, these genetic conditions cause something to go wrong with your nerves or with the protective sheathing surrounding your nerves.
The result is that the signals sent from your brain to those nerves (and from those nerves back to your brain) don’t progress all that well. Functionally, this can cause both a loss in motor function and a loss of sensation.
CMT can be present in several variations and a mixture of genetic factors usually result in its expressions. Symptoms of CMT usually start in the feet and work their way up to the arms. And, strangely, 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
There’s always been an anecdotal link between hearing loss and CMT (meaning that within the CMT culture everybody has heard other people tell stories about it). And it was hard to realize 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 scientists evaluated 79 people with CMT at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The findings were rather decisive. Nearly everyone with CMT passed their low and moderate frequency hearing tests with flying colors. But all of the participants showed loss of hearing when it came to the high-frequency sounds (usually around the moderate levels). Based on this research, it seems probable that CMT can at least be linked to high-frequency hearing loss.
The Cause of Hearing Loss and How to Treat It
The connection between high-frequency loss of hearing and CMT could, at first, seem perplexing. But all of your body, from your toes to your eyebrows, relies on the proper 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. In particular, understand voices in crowded and noisy rooms can be a tangible obstacle.
This form of hearing loss is commonly treated with hearing aids. CMT has no renowned cure. Modern hearing aids can isolate the exact frequencies to amplify which can give considerable help in fighting high-frequency hearing loss. Most modern hearing aids can also work well in noisy environments.
Hearing Loss Can Have Many Causes
Beyond the unconfirmed hypothesis, it’s still uncertain what the connection between CMT and high-frequency hearing loss. But hearing aid technology offers a definite treatment for the symptoms of that hearing loss. That’s why many individuals who have CMT will take the time to sit down with a hearing specialist and get a fitting for a custom hearing aid.
Hearing loss symptoms can surface for many reasons. Frequently, it’s an issue of loud sound contributing to injury to the ears. In other cases, hearing loss may be the consequence of a blockage. It also appears that CMT is another possible cause.