Florida Hearing Matters - Fort Lauderdale, FL

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

How frequently do you contemplate your nervous system? For the majority of people, the answer would probably be not that often. As long as your body is performing in the way that it should, you have no reason to consider how your neurons are firing or whether nerves are sending correct messages along the electrical pathways in your body. But when those nerves begin to misfire – that is when something goes wrong – you tend to pay much more attention to your nervous system.

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 normally manifest primarily in the extremities. And there’s some evidence that implies that CMT can also lead to high-frequency loss of hearing.

Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease, What is it?

Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease is a set of inherited conditions. The protective sheathing around the nerves malfunction due to a genetic disorder.

There is a problem with the way signals move between your brain and your nerves. A loss in motor function and sensation can be the outcome.

A blend of genetic elements commonly leads to the expression of symptoms, so CMT can be found in several varieties. For many people who have CMT, symptoms start in the feet and go up into their arms. And, oddly, 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 has always been an anecdotal connection between loss of hearing and CMT (meaning that within the CMT culture everybody has heard other people talk about it). And it seemed to confuse people who suffered from 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 quite decisive. Nearly everyone who has CMT passed their low and moderate frequency hearing tests with flying colors. But all of the people showed hearing loss when it came to the high-frequency sounds (usually around the moderate levels). high-frequency hearing loss, according to this research, is likely to be associated with CMT.

What is The Cause of Hearing Loss And How Can it be Addressed?

The connection between high-frequency loss of hearing and CMT may, at first, seem puzzling. But all of your body, from your eyebrows to your toes, relies on the proper functioning of nerves. That also goes for your ears.

What many researchers hypothesize occurs is that the cochlear nerve is affected by the CMT – interfering with your ear’s ability to interpret and transmit sounds in a high-frequency range. Anyone with this type of hearing loss will have difficulty hearing specific sounds, including people’s voices. Notably, understand voices in crowded or noisy rooms can be a tangible obstacle.

This kind of hearing loss is usually managed with hearing aids. There’s no known cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can offer considerable assistance in terms of fighting the effects of high-frequency hearing loss, selecting only those ranges of sounds to amplify. The majority of modern hearing aids can also perform well in loud settings.

Hearing Loss Can Have Several Causes

Experts still aren’t entirely sure why CMT and loss of hearing seem to co-exist quite so often (beyond their untested theory). But this form of hearing loss can be efficiently treated with hearing aids. That’s why many people who have CMT will make time to get a consultation with a hearing care specialist and get a fitting for a custom hearing aid.

Hearing loss symptoms can arise for many reasons. In many situations, loss of hearing is caused by excessive exposure to damaging sounds. Blockages can be yet another cause. It turns out that CMT can be still another reason for hearing loss.