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

Do you spend much time thinking about your nervous system? Probably not all that regularly. As long as your body is performing as it should, you’ve no reason to think about how your neurons are firing or whether nerves are sending correct messages along the electrical pathways of your body. But you tend to pay more attention when something goes wrong and the nerves begin to misfire.

There’s one particular disease, called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, which can impact the nervous system on a relatively large scale, though the symptoms normally manifest primarily in the extremities. high-frequency hearing loss can also be the result of CMT according to some research.

What Is Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease?

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a set of inherited conditions. The protective sheathing surrounding the nerves fail to function properly due to a genetic disorder.

As a result, the signals sent from your brain to those nerves (and from those nerves back to your brain) don’t progress all that well. A loss of motor function and sensation can be the outcome.

CMT can be present in numerous variations and a mixture of genetic factors usually result in its expressions. Symptoms of CMT usually begin in the feet and work their way up to the arms. And, high-frequency hearing loss, strangely, has a high rate of occurrence in those with CMT.

The Cochlear Nerve: A Link Between CMT and Hearing Loss

The connection between CMT and hearing loss has always been colloquially supported (that is, everyone knows someone who has a tells about it – at least inside of the CMT culture). And it seemed to confuse people who suffered from CMT – the ear didn’t appear very related to the loss of sensation in the legs, for example.

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 who had CMT. But high-frequency sounds (in the moderate region particularly) were effortlessly heard by all of the participants. According to this study, it seems pretty likely that CMT can at least be connected to high-frequency loss of hearing.

The Cause of Hearing Loss and How to Treat It

The connection between high-frequency hearing loss and CMT might, at first, seem perplexing. Like every other part of your body relies on properly functioning nerves. Your ears are the same.

The theory is, CMT affects the cochlear nerve so noises in the high-frequency range aren’t able to be interpreted. Anyone with this kind of hearing loss will have a hard time hearing some sounds, including people’s voices. Trying to hear voices in a crowded noisy room is particularly hard.

Hearing aids are commonly used to deal with this type of hearing loss. CMT has no known cure. Modern hearing aids can provide significant assistance in terms of fighting the effects of high-frequency loss of hearing, isolating only those ranges of sounds to boost. Additionally, most modern hearing aids can be calibrated to work well inside of noisy conditions.

Hearing Loss Can Have Many Causes

Researchers still aren’t completely sure why CMT and hearing loss seem to co-exist quite so frequently (above and beyond their untested hypothesis). But hearing aid tech offers a clear solution to the symptoms of that loss of hearing. That’s why many individuals who have CMT will make time to get a consultation with a hearing care specialist and get fitted for a custom hearing aid.

There are a range of causes for hearing loss symptoms. In many instances, hearing loss is triggered by excess exposure to damaging sounds. In other circumstances, loss of hearing might be the result of a blockage. It also looks as if CMT is another possible cause.

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