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

How frequently do you think about your nervous system? For most people, the answer would most likely be not that frequently. Ordinarily, you wouldn’t have to be concerned about how your neurons are communicating signals to the nerves in your body. But you tend to pay more attention when something isn’t working right and the nerves start to misfire.

There’s one specific disease, called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, which can affect the nervous system on a fairly large scale, though the symptoms normally manifest chiefly in the extremities. And there’s some evidence that implies 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 conditions cause something to go wrong with your nerves or with the protective sheathing around your nerves.

There is a problem with how impulses move between your brain and your nerves. A loss in motor function and sensation can be the result.

A mixture of genetic elements commonly results in the appearance of symptoms, so CMT can be present in several variations. For many people with CMT, symptoms start in the feet and can work their way up into their arms. And, curiously, among those who have CMT, there is a higher rate of occurrence of high-frequency hearing loss.

A Link Between Hearing Loss And CMT: The Cochlear Nerve

The connection between CMT and hearing loss has always been colloquially supported (that is, everyone 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 very related to the loss of sensation in the legs, for example.

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

The findings were rather decisive. Low to moderate frequencies were heard almost perfectly by those who had CMT. But high-frequency sounds (in the moderate region in particular) were easily heard by all of the participants. high-frequency hearing loss, according to this study, is likely to be linked to CMT.

The Cause of Hearing Loss and How to Deal With It

The link between high-frequency loss of hearing and CMT might, at first, seem puzzling. Like all other parts of your body rely on correctly functioning nerves. That also goes for your ears.

The theory is, CMT affects the cochlear nerve so noises in the high-frequency range aren’t able to be translated. Anyone with this kind of hearing loss will have difficulty hearing specific sounds, including people’s voices. Notably, make out voices in crowded and noisy rooms can be a tangible obstacle.

This kind of hearing loss is commonly treated with hearing aids. CMT has no renowned cure. Modern hearing aids can isolate the exact frequencies to amplify which can offer appreciable assistance in fighting high-frequency hearing loss. The majority of modern hearing aids can also perform well in loud settings.

There Could be Various Causes For Hearing Loss

Researchers still aren’t entirely sure why CMT and hearing loss seem to co-exist quite so often (above and beyond their untested hypothesis). But hearing aid technology provides a definite solution to the symptoms of that hearing loss. So making an appointment to get a fitting for hearing aids will be a good choice for individuals who suffer from CMT.

Hearing loss symptoms can develop for many reasons. In many instances, hearing loss is brought about by excessive exposure to harmful noises. In other circumstances, loss of hearing could be the result of an obstruction. It also looks as if CMT is another possible cause.