Hearing Health Blog

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

Do you spend much time thinking about your nervous system? Most likely not all that frequently. As long as your body is performing as it should, you have no reason to think about how your neurons are firing or whether nerves are sending correct messages through the electrical pathways in your body. But you will take a closer look 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 fairly large scale, though the symptoms usually manifest mainly in the extremities. And there’s some evidence that implies that CMT can also cause high-frequency hearing loss.

Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease, What is it?

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

There is a problem with how impulses travel between your brain and your nerves. 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 factors usually lead to its expressions. Symptoms os CMT normally start in the feet and go up to the arms. And, oddly, among those who have CMT, there is a higher rate of occurrence of high-frequency hearing loss.

A Connection Between Loss of Hearing And CMT: The Cochlear Nerve

There’s always been an anecdotal connection between hearing loss and CMT (meaning that inside of the CMT culture everyone has heard other people talk about it). And it was hard to understand the link between loss of sensation in the legs and issues with the ears.

The connection was firmly established by a scientific study 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. Low to moderate frequencies were heard nearly perfectly by those with CMT. But all of the participants 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?

The link between high-frequency loss of hearing and CMT may, at first, seem perplexing. Like every other part of your body relies on properly functioning nerves. Your ears are no different.

The theory is, CMT impacts the cochlear nerve so noises in the high-frequency range aren’t able to be translated. Anyone with this type of hearing loss will have difficulty hearing some sounds, including voices. Trying to hear voices in a crowded noisy room is particularly difficult.

This form of hearing loss is commonly managed with hearing aids. There’s no recognized cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can offer tremendous help in terms of overcoming the effects of high-frequency hearing loss, isolating only those ranges of sounds to boost. Additionally, most modern hearing aids can be adjusted to function well inside of noisy surroundings.

There Could be Various Causes For Hearing Loss

Beyond the unconfirmed theory, it’s still not well understood what the relationship between CMT and high-frequency hearing loss. But hearing aid tech offers an obvious treatment for the symptoms of that hearing loss. So scheduling an appointment to get a fitting for hearing aids will be a good choice for individuals who suffer from CMT.

There are many causes for hearing loss symptoms. Frequently, it’s an issue of loud sound contributing to damage to the ears. In other cases, loss of hearing may be the consequence of an obstruction. It turns out that CMT can be still another cause of hearing loss.

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