How frequently do you think about your nervous system? For most people, the answer would most likely be not that often. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t have to be concerned about how your neurons are communicating signals to the nerves in your body. But you will pay more attention when something fails and the nerves begin to misfire.
One specific disease known as Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease that typically affects the extremities can also have a pretty wide-scale affect on the entire nervous system. And there’s some evidence that implies that CMT can also lead to high-frequency loss of hearing.
Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease, What is it?
Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a set of inherited conditions. The protective sheathing surrounding the nerves malfunction due to a genetic condition.
As a result, the impulses sent from your brain to those nerves (and from those nerves back to your brain) don’t progress all that well. Functionally, this can lead to both a loss in motor function and a loss of sensation.
A mix of genetic factors usually results in the manifestation of symptoms, so CMT can be found in a few varieties. Symptoms of CMT usually begin in the feet and go up to the arms. And, high-frequency hearing loss, strangely, has a high rate of occurrence in those with CMT.
The Cochlear Nerve: A Link Between CMT and Loss of Hearing
The connection between CMT and loss of hearing has always been colloquially supported (that is, everyone knows someone who has a story about it – at least within the CMT community). And it seemed to mystify people who had CMT – the ear didn’t seem 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 researchers examined 79 people with CMT at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The findings were quite conclusive. Almost everyone who has CMT passed their low and moderate frequency hearing exams with flying colors. But all of the individuals showed loss of hearing 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 connected to high-frequency loss of hearing.
What is The Cause of Hearing Loss And How Can it be Treated?
The connection between high-frequency hearing loss and CMT might, at first, seem puzzling. But everything in your body, from your eyebrows to your toes, 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. Anyone with this form of hearing loss will have a hard time hearing specific sounds, and that includes people’s voices. Trying to understand voices in a crowded noisy room is particularly difficult.
This form of hearing loss is usually managed with hearing aids. There’s no recognized cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can isolate the exact frequencies to boost which can give significant assistance in combating high-frequency hearing loss. The majority of modern hearing aids can also perform well in loud settings.
There Can be Various Causes For Hearing Loss
Researchers still aren’t completely sure why CMT and loss of hearing seem to co-exist quite so frequently (beyond their untested theory). But hearing aid technology provides a definite treatment for the symptoms of that loss of hearing. So scheduling an appointment to get a fitting for hearing aids will be a smart choice for individuals who have CMT.
There are a variety of causes for hearing loss symptoms. Often, it’s a matter of loud noise contributing to injury to the ears. In other circumstances, hearing loss might be the consequence of an obstruction. It turns out that CMT can be still another cause of hearing loss.