Do you invest much time considering your nervous system? Probably not all that frequently. As long as your body is performing in the way that it should, you’ve no reason to consider how your neurons are firing or whether nerves are sending proper messages along the electrical pathways in your body. But when those nerves begin to misfire – that is when something isn’t working properly – you tend to pay much more attention to your nervous system.
There’s one particular condition, called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, which can impact the nervous system on a fairly large scale, though the symptoms usually manifest primarily in the extremities. And there’s some evidence that implies that CMT can also lead to 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 condition.
There is a problem with how impulses move between your brain and your nerves. A loss of motor function and sensation can be the outcome.
CMT can be present in several variations and a combination of genetic considerations normally result in its expressions. For the majority of people with CMT, symptoms start in the feet and can work their way up into their arms. And, high-frequency hearing loss, curiously, has a high rate of occurrence in those with CMT.
A Link Between Hearing Loss And CMT: The Cochlear Nerve
There has always been an anecdotal link between hearing loss and CMT (meaning that within the CMT culture everyone has heard other people tell stories about it). And it was hard to grasp the connection between loss of sensation in the legs and issues with the ears.
The connection was firmly established by a scientific study 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 individuals 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 associated with high-frequency hearing loss.
The Cause of Hearing Loss and How to Treat It
The link between high-frequency loss of hearing and CMT might, at first, seem perplexing. Like every other part of your body relies on correctly functioning nerves. That’s also the same for your ears.
The hypothesis is, CMT affects the cochlear nerve so sounds in the high-frequency range aren’t able to be translated. Certain sounds, including some voices, will be difficult to hear. Trying to hear voices in a crowded noisy room is particularly hard.
This kind of hearing loss is usually treated with hearing aids. There’s no known cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can provide considerable assistance in terms of fighting the effects of high-frequency loss of hearing, isolating only those ranges of sounds to boost. Most modern hearing aids can also do well in noisy settings.
Many Causes of 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 tech provides a definite solution to the symptoms of that hearing loss. That’s why countless individuals who have CMT will take the time to get a consultation with a hearing professional and get a fitting for a custom hearing aid.
Hearing loss symptoms can surface for a wide variety of reasons. Frequently, it’s a matter of loud noise resulting in damage to the ears. Obstructions can be yet another cause. It also looks like CMT is another possible cause.