Do you spend much time thinking about your nervous system? For most individuals, the answer would most likely 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 start 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 disease, known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, which can affect the nervous system on a relatively large scale, though the symptoms usually manifest mainly in the extremities. And there’s some evidence to suggest 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. In essence, these genetic disorders cause something to go wrong with your nerves or with the protective sheathing around your nerves.
This means that the signals sent from your brain to those nerves (and from those nerves back to your brain) don’t work all that well. A loss of motor function and sensation can be the result.
A mix of genetic elements usually leads to the appearance of symptoms, so CMT can be present in a few varieties. 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.
A Link Between Loss of Hearing And CMT: The Cochlear Nerve
The connection between CMT and loss of hearing has always been colloquially established (that is, everybody knows someone who has a story about it – at least within the CMT culture). And it seemed to mystify people who had CMT – the ear didn’t seem all that 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 results were rather conclusive. Almost everyone with CMT passed their low and moderate frequency hearing tests with flying colors. But high-frequency sounds (in the moderate region particularly) were effortlessly heard by all of the individuals. high-frequency hearing loss, according to this research, is likely to be associated with CMT.
The Cause of Hearing Loss and How to Deal With It
The connection between high-frequency loss of hearing and CMT could, at first, seem perplexing. Like every other part of your body relies 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 interpret and convey sounds in a high-frequency range. Anybody with this form of hearing loss will have a hard time hearing some sounds, and that includes peoples voices. In particular, understand voices in crowded and noisy rooms can be a tangible challenge.
Hearing aids are usually used to manage this form of hearing loss. CMT has no known cure. Modern hearing aids can offer tremendous assistance in terms of overcoming 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 loud environments.
Hearing Loss Can Have Many Causes
Researchers still aren’t entirely sure why CMT and loss of hearing seem to co-exist quite so frequently (beyond their untested theory). But hearing aid tech offers an obvious solution to the symptoms of that hearing loss. That’s why countless individuals with CMT will make time to get a consultation with a hearing professional and get a fitting for a custom hearing aid.
Hearing loss symptoms can occur for many reasons. In some cases, loss of hearing is caused by excessive exposure to damaging sounds. In other cases, loss of hearing might be the consequence of a blockage. It appears that CMT can be still another reason for loss of hearing.