Do you invest much time thinking about your nervous system? Probably not all that frequently. Usually, you wouldn’t have to worry about how your neurons are sending messages to the nerves in your body. But you tend to pay more attention when something isn’t working right and the nerves begin to misfire.
There’s one particular condition, called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, which can affect the nervous system on a pretty large scale, though the symptoms usually manifest mainly in the extremities. And there’s some evidence that implies 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. Effectively, these genetic disorders cause something to go wrong with your nerves or with the protective sheathing surrounding your nerves.
The result is that the impulses sent from your brain to those nerves (and from those nerves back to your brain) don’t work all that well. Functionally, this can lead to both a loss in motor function and a loss of sensation.
CMT can be found in several varieties and a combination of genetic considerations usually result in its expressions. For most people who have CMT, symptoms start in the feet and go up into their arms. And, high-frequency hearing loss, strangely, has a high rate of occurrence in those with CMT.
The Cochlear Nerve: A Connection Between CMT and Hearing Loss
There has always been an anecdotal link between hearing loss and CMT (which means that inside of the CMT culture everyone has heard others talk about it). And it seemed to confuse people who had CMT – the ear didn’t appear very 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 evaluated 79 people with CMT at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The findings were quite decisive. Nearly everyone who has CMT passed their low and moderate frequency hearing exams with flying colors. But all of the participants showed hearing loss when it came to the high-frequency sounds (usually around the moderate levels). high-frequency hearing loss, according to this research, is likely to be associated with CMT.
The Cause of Hearing Loss and How to Treat It
At first, it could be perplexing to attempt to figure out the connection between high-frequency hearing loss and CMT. Like all other parts of your body rely on correctly functioning nerves. Your ears are the same.
What the majority of researchers hypothesize occurs is that the cochlear nerve is affected by the CMT – disrupting your ear’s ability to translate and convey sounds in a high-frequency range. Anyone with this type of hearing loss will have difficulty hearing some sounds, including people’s voices. Trying to understand voices in a crowded noisy room is especially difficult.
This type of hearing loss is usually managed with hearing aids. There’s no known cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can provide tremendous assistance in terms of combating the effects of high-frequency loss of hearing, isolating only those ranges of sounds to amplify. The majority of modern hearing aids can also work well in loud environments.
Many Reasons For Hearing Loss
Beyond the unconfirmed hypothesis, it’s still uncertain what the link between CMT and high-frequency hearing loss. But hearing aid technology offers an obvious treatment for the symptoms of that hearing loss. So making an appointment to get a fitting for hearing aids will be a smart choice for people who suffer from CMT.
Hearing loss symptoms can develop for several reasons. Frequently, it’s a matter of loud sound leading to damage to the ears. Blockages can be yet another cause. It also looks like CMT is another possible cause.