Do you invest much time considering your nervous system? Probably not all that frequently. Normally, you wouldn’t have to worry about how your neurons are communicating messages to the nerves of your body. But you will pay more attention when something fails and the nerves start to misfire.
There’s one specific condition, known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, which can influence the nervous system on a relatively large scale, though the symptoms normally 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 disorders. Effectively, these genetic disorders cause something to go wrong with your nerves or with the protective sheathing surrounding your nerves.
This means that 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 of motor function and sensation can be the outcome.
A blend of genetic elements typically leads to the manifestation of symptoms, so CMT can be found in a few varieties. Symptoms of CMT normally begin in the feet and work their way up to the arms. And, high-frequency hearing loss, curiously, has a high rate of occurrence among those with CMT.
A Link Between Loss of Hearing And CMT: The Cochlear Nerve
The link between CMT and hearing loss has always been colloquially established (that is, everybody knows someone who has a tells about it – at least inside of the CMT culture). And it seemed to mystify people who suffered from 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 examined 79 people with CMT at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.
The findings were quite conclusive. Low to moderate frequencies were heard nearly perfectly by those with CMT. But all of the individuals showed hearing loss when it came to the high-frequency sounds (usually around the moderate levels). Based on this study, it seems pretty likely that CMT can at least be linked to high-frequency loss of hearing.
What is The Cause of Hearing Loss And How Can it be Addressed?
At first, it could be perplexing to attempt to identify the connection between high-frequency hearing loss and CMT. Like every other part of your body relies on properly functioning nerves. Your ears are exactly the same.
What most researchers hypothesize occurs is that the cochlear nerve is affected by the CMT – disrupting your ear’s ability to translate and transmit sounds in a high-frequency range. Anyone with this kind of hearing loss will have difficulty hearing some sounds, including people’s voices. Particularly, understand voices in crowded and noisy rooms can be a real obstacle.
Hearing aids are usually used to deal with this kind of hearing loss. There’s no known cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can provide significant help in terms of combating the effects of high-frequency loss of hearing, selecting only those ranges of sounds to amplify. In addition, most modern hearing aids can be adjusted to work well within noisy settings.
Hearing Loss Can Have A Number of Causes
Experts still aren’t entirely certain why CMT and hearing loss seem to co-exist quite so often (beyond their untested hypothesis). But this form of hearing loss can be efficiently treated using hearing aids. That’s why lots of individuals with CMT will make time to get a consultation with a hearing specialist and get a fitting for a custom hearing aid.
Hearing loss symptoms can develop for a number of reasons. In some instances, loss of hearing is caused by undesirable exposure to harmful noises. Blockages can be another cause. It turns out that CMT can be still another cause of hearing loss.