Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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

Do you invest much time thinking about your nervous system? For the majority of people, the answer would most likely be not very frequently. As long as your body is working as it is supposed to, you’ve no reason to think about how your neurons are firing or whether nerves are sending proper messages along the electrical pathways of your body. But you will take a closer look when something fails and the nerves begin to misfire.

One particular disease known as Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease which typically affects the extremities can also have a fairly wide-scale affect on the entire nervous system. And there’s some evidence to suggest that CMT can also cause high-frequency loss of hearing.

What Is Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease?

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

As a result, the signals sent from your brain to those nerves (and from those nerves back to your brain) don’t work all that well. Functionally, this can cause both a loss in motor function and a loss of sensation.

CMT can be found in numerous variations and a mixture of genetic factors usually result in its expressions. For the majority of people with CMT, symptoms begin in the feet and can work their way up into their arms. And, strangely, among those who have CMT, there is a higher rate of occurrence of high-frequency hearing loss.

The Cochlear Nerve: A Connection Between CMT and Hearing Loss

There’s always been an anecdotal connection between hearing loss and CMT (meaning that inside of the CMT culture everybody has heard other people talk about it). And it seemed to confuse people who had CMT – the ear didn’t appear all that related to the loss of feeling in the legs, for example.

The connection was firmly established by a scientific study just recently when a group of scientists examined 79 people with CMT at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics.

The results were quite decisive. 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 easily heard by all of the participants. According to this study, it seems probable that CMT can at least be linked to high-frequency hearing loss.

The Cause of Hearing Loss and How to Treat It

At first, it could be puzzling to attempt to identify the link between high-frequency hearing loss and CMT. But everything in your body, from your eyebrows to your toes, relies on the proper functioning of nerves. That’s also the same for your ears.

What the majority of researchers hypothesize happens 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. Anybody with this type of hearing loss will have difficulty hearing certain sounds, and that includes peoples voices. Trying to hear voices in a crowded noisy room is particularly hard.

This kind of hearing loss is normally treated with hearing aids. CMT has no renowned cure. Modern hearing aids can offer considerable help in terms of overcoming the effects of high-frequency hearing loss, isolating only those ranges of sounds to boost. Most modern hearing aids can also work well in noisy environments.

Many Causes of Hearing Loss

Beyond the unconfirmed theory, it’s still not well understood what the relationship between high-frequency hearing loss and CMT is. But this kind of hearing loss can be effectively managed with hearing aids. So making an appointment to get fitted for hearing aids will be a smart choice for individuals who have CMT.

There are many causes for hearing loss symptoms. Often, it’s a matter of loud noise resulting in damage to the ears. Obstructions can be another cause. It also appears that CMT is another possible cause.

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