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

Do you invest much time considering your nervous system? For most individuals, the answer would most likely be not that often. As long as your body is performing 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 corridors of your body. But when those nerves begin to misfire – that is when something goes wrong – you tend to pay a lot more attention to your nervous system.

There’s one particular condition, known as Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, which can influence the nervous system on a relatively large scale, though the symptoms usually manifest primarily in the extremities. And there’s some evidence that implies that CMT can also lead to high-frequency loss of hearing.

What Is Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease?

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

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

A mixture of genetic elements typically leads to the appearance of symptoms, so CMT can be present in a number of variations. For the majority of people with CMT, symptoms begin in the feet and can work their way up into their arms. And, high-frequency hearing loss, strangely, has a high rate of occurrence among those with CMT.

A Connection Between Loss of Hearing And CMT: The Cochlear Nerve

There has always been an anecdotal connection between loss of hearing and CMT (meaning that inside of the CMT culture everybody has heard other people talk about it). And it was hard to realize the link between loss of sensation in the legs and issues with the ears.

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 results were rather conclusive. Low to moderate frequencies were heard very nearly perfectly by those who had CMT. But all of the participants showed loss of hearing when it came to the high-frequency sounds (usually around the moderate levels). high-frequency hearing loss, according to this study, is likely to be connected to CMT.

The Cause of Hearing Loss and How to Deal With It

The link between high-frequency loss of hearing and CMT could, at first, seem perplexing. Like every other part of your body relies on properly functioning nerves. That’s also the same for your ears.

What most researchers hypothesize occurs is that the cochlear nerve is impacted by the CMT – disrupting your ear’s ability to interpret and transmit sounds in a high-frequency range. Certain sounds, including some voices, will be hard to hear. Trying to hear voices in a crowded noisy room is especially difficult.

Hearing aids are commonly used to deal with this kind of hearing loss. There’s no known cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can select the precise frequencies to boost which can provide considerable help in combating high-frequency hearing loss. Most modern hearing aids can also work well in noisy environments.

Hearing Loss Can Have Many Causes

Experts still aren’t entirely sure why CMT and loss of hearing seem to co-exist quite so often (beyond their untested hypothesis). But this type of hearing loss can be effectively addressed using hearing aids. So making an appointment to get a fitting for hearing aids will be a smart choice for individuals who have CMT.

There are many causes for hearing loss symptoms. In many situations, hearing loss is triggered by excessive exposure to damaging sounds. Obstructions can be yet another cause. It turns out that CMT can be still another reason for hearing loss.