Hearing Assessment Center, LLC - Lutherville, Bel Air, and  Nottingham, MD

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

Do you invest much time considering your nervous system? For the majority of people, the answer would probably be not very often. Generally, you wouldn’t have to worry about how your neurons are sending messages to the nerves of your body. But when those nerves begin to misfire – that is when something isn’t working properly – you tend to pay a lot more attention to your nervous system.

There’s one particular disease, called 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 to suggest that CMT can also lead to high-frequency hearing loss.

What Is Charcot-Marie-Tooth Disease?

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

There is a problem with how signals travel between your brain and your nerves. Functionally, this can cause both a loss in motor function and a loss of feeling.

A blend of genetic elements commonly results in the appearance of symptoms, so CMT can be present in several varieties. For most people who have CMT, symptoms begin 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 Link Between CMT and Loss of Hearing

The link between CMT and loss of hearing has always been colloquially supported (that is, everyone knows somebody who has a story about it – at least inside of the CMT community). And it seemed to confuse people who suffered from CMT – the ear didn’t appear all that 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 results were rather decisive. Nearly everyone who has CMT passed their low and moderate frequency hearing assessments with flying colors. But all of the people showed hearing loss when it came to the high-frequency sounds (usually across the moderate levels). Based on this research, it seems pretty likely that CMT can at least be linked to high-frequency hearing loss.

The Cause of Hearing Loss and How to Deal With It

At first, it may be perplexing to try to recognize the connection between high-frequency hearing loss and CMT. But all of your body, from your eyebrows to your toes, relies on the correct functioning of nerves. That also goes for your ears.

What the majority of researchers hypothesize happens is that the cochlear nerve is impacted by the CMT – interfering with your ear’s ability to translate and convey sounds in a high-frequency range. Anybody with this form of hearing loss will have a hard time hearing some sounds, including peoples voices. Notably, understand voices in crowded and noisy rooms can be a tangible challenge.

This form of hearing loss is normally managed with hearing aids. CMT has no renowned cure. Modern hearing aids can give significant assistance in terms of fighting the effects of high-frequency loss of hearing, isolating only those ranges of sounds to amplify. Additionally, most modern hearing aids can be adjusted to function well inside of noisy settings.

There Can be Various Causes For Hearing Loss

Experts still aren’t completely sure why CMT and loss of hearing seem to co-exist quite so often (beyond their untested theory). But this type of hearing loss can be efficiently treated using hearing aids. So making an appointment to get fitted for hearing aids will be a good choice for people who have CMT.

There are a variety of causes for hearing loss symptoms. Commonly, it’s an issue of loud sound contributing to injury to the ears. Blockages can be another cause. It also looks as if CMT is another possible cause.

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