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

Do you invest much time thinking about your nervous system? For most individuals, the answer would probably be not that frequently. As long as your body is working as it is supposed to, you have no reason to think about how your neurons are firing or whether nerves are sending proper messages along the electrical corridors of your body. But you will pay more attention when something fails and the nerves start to misfire.

One distinct disease called Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease which normally affects the extremities can also have a fairly wide-scale impact on the whole 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. The protective sheathing surrounding the nerves fail to function properly due to a genetic condition.

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

A mixture of genetic elements commonly results in the manifestation of symptoms, so CMT can be found in several varieties. Symptoms of CMT usually start in the feet and work their way up to the arms. And, high-frequency hearing loss, curiously, has a high rate of occurrence among those who have CMT.

A Link Between Hearing Loss And CMT: The Cochlear Nerve

There’s always been an anecdotal connection between loss of hearing and CMT (meaning that inside of the CMT community everybody has heard others talk about it). And it seemed to mystify people who had CMT – the ear didn’t appear very related to the loss of feeling 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 findings were quite decisive. Almost everyone with CMT passed their low and moderate frequency hearing assessments with flying colors. But all of the participants showed loss of hearing when it came to the high-frequency sounds (usually around the moderate levels). According to this study, it seems probable that CMT can at least be linked to high-frequency hearing loss.

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

The connection between high-frequency loss of hearing and CMT may, at first, seem perplexing. But all of your body, from your eyebrows to your toes, relies on the proper functioning of nerves. Your ears are exactly the same.

What the majority of researchers hypothesize happens is that the cochlear nerve is affected by the CMT – interfering with your ear’s ability to translate and transmit sounds in a high-frequency range. Certain sounds, including some voices, will be hard to hear. Trying to understand voices in a crowded noisy room is especially difficult.

This type of hearing loss is commonly treated with hearing aids. CMT has no known cure. Modern hearing aids can isolate the precise frequencies to boost which can provide appreciable assistance in fighting high-frequency hearing loss. Most modern hearing aids can also do well in loud settings.

Hearing Loss Can Have Many Causes

Beyond the unconfirmed theory, it’s still not well understood what the connection between CMT and high-frequency hearing loss. But this form of hearing loss can be efficiently managed using hearing aids. That’s why many people with CMT will make time to get a consultation with a hearing professional and get fitted for a custom hearing aid.

Hearing loss symptoms can occur for a wide variety of reasons. In some cases, hearing loss is triggered by undesirable exposure to harmful noises. Blockages can be another cause. It appears that CMT can be still another reason for loss of hearing.