Image of a neural disease that would cause high-frequency hearing loss.

Do you spend much time thinking about your nervous system? For the majority of people, the answer would probably be not that frequently. Usually, you wouldn’t have to be concerned about how your neurons are communicating messages to the nerves in your body. But when those nerves begin to misfire – that is when something goes wrong – you begin to pay a lot more attention to your nervous system.

There’s one specific disease, known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, which can affect the nervous system on a pretty large scale, though the symptoms usually manifest chiefly in the extremities. And there’s some evidence to suggest that CMT can also lead to high-frequency hearing loss.

What Is Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease?

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a set of inherited disorders. Essentially, these genetic conditions cause something to go wrong with your nerves or with the protective sheathing around your nerves.

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. Functionally, this can lead to both a loss in motor function and a loss of feeling.

CMT can be found in several variations and a mixture of genetic considerations usually result in its expressions. For the majority of people with CMT, symptoms begin in the feet and can work their way up into their arms. And, strangely, among those who have CMT, there is a higher rate of occurrence of high-frequency hearing loss.

A Link Between Hearing Loss And CMT: The Cochlear Nerve

The link between CMT and loss of hearing has always been colloquially recognized (that is, everyone knows somebody who has a tells about it – at least within the CMT community). And it was hard to grasp the connection between loss of sensation in the legs and issues with the ears.

A scientific study firmly established the connection just recently when a group of researchers evaluated 79 people with CMT at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

The findings were rather decisive. Almost everyone who has CMT passed their low and moderate frequency hearing tests with flying colors. But all of the people showed hearing loss when it came to the high-frequency sounds (usually around the moderate levels). high-frequency hearing loss, according to this study, is likely to be linked to CMT.

What is The Cause of Hearing Loss And How Can it be Treated?

The connection between high-frequency loss of hearing and CMT may, at first, seem puzzling. Like all other parts of your body rely on properly functioning nerves. That’s also the same for your ears.

The hypothesis is, CMT impacts the cochlear nerve so sounds in the high-frequency range aren’t able to be interpreted. Certain sounds, including some voices, will be difficult to hear. Trying to understand voices in a crowded noisy room is particularly difficult.

Hearing aids are commonly used to deal with this kind of hearing loss. There’s no recognized cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can give tremendous help in terms of fighting the effects of high-frequency loss of hearing, isolating only those ranges of sounds to amplify. Also, most modern hearing aids can be adjusted to work well inside of noisy conditions.

There Can be Many Causes For Hearing Loss

Experts still aren’t entirely sure why CMT and hearing loss seem to co-exist quite so frequently (beyond their untested hypothesis). But this type of hearing loss can be successfully addressed with hearing aids. So scheduling an appointment to get fitted for hearing aids will be a good choice for individuals who suffer from CMT.

There are a range of causes for hearing loss symptoms. Frequently, it’s an issue of loud noise causing injury to the ears. Obstructions can be yet another cause. It also appears that CMT is another possible cause.

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