How frequently do you think about your nervous system? Most likely not all that regularly. Generally, you wouldn’t have to be concerned about how your neurons are communicating messages to the nerves in your body. But when those nerves start to misfire – that is when something fails – you tend to pay much more attention to your nervous system.
One particular disease known as Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease which normally 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 surrounding the nerves fail to function properly due to a genetic disorder.
As a result, the signals sent from your brain to those nerves (and from those nerves back to your brain) don’t travel all that well. A loss in motor function and sensation can be the result.
A blend of genetic elements typically leads to the expression of symptoms, so CMT can be found in a number of varieties. Symptoms of CMT usually start in the feet and work their way up to the arms. And, oddly, among those who have CMT, there is a higher rate of occurrence of high-frequency hearing loss.
A Connection Between Hearing Loss And CMT: The Cochlear Nerve
There has always been an anecdotal connection between hearing loss and CMT (which means that within the CMT community everybody has heard other people talk about it). And it seemed to mystify people who had CMT – the ear didn’t appear all that related to the loss of sensation in the legs, for example.
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 results were quite decisive. Almost 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 across the moderate levels). According to this research, it seems probable that CMT can at least be associated with high-frequency loss of hearing.
What is The Cause of Hearing Loss And How Can it be Addressed?
The connection between high-frequency loss of hearing and CMT may, at first, seem perplexing. Like every other part of your body relies on correctly functioning nerves. That’s also the same for your ears.
What the majority of researchers hypothesize occurs is that the cochlear nerve is impacted by the CMT – interfering with your ear’s ability to interpret and transmit sounds in a high-frequency range. Anybody with this form of hearing loss will have difficulty hearing specific sounds, including people’s voices. Trying to hear voices in a crowded noisy room is particularly difficult.
Hearing aids are commonly used to deal with this type of hearing loss. There’s no known cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can give tremendous help in terms of combating the effects of high-frequency loss of hearing, isolating only those ranges of sounds to amplify. Most modern hearing aids can also perform well in loud environments.
Hearing Loss Can Have Several Causes
Beyond the untested theory, it’s still not well understood what the link between CMT and high-frequency hearing loss. But this form of hearing loss can be effectively treated using hearing aids. So making an appointment to get a fitting for hearing aids will be a good decision for people who suffer from CMT.
There are a variety of causes for hearing loss symptoms. Often, it’s an issue of loud noise leading to damage to the ears. In other circumstances, loss of hearing might be the consequence of an obstruction. It appears that CMT can be still another cause of loss of hearing.