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Hearing Aids by Tricia Leagjeld - Redmond, OR

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

Do you spend much time thinking about your nervous system? Probably not all that frequently. As long as your body is working as it should, you have no reason to think about how your neurons are firing or whether nerves are sending proper messages along the electrical corridors in your body. But you tend to take a closer look when something isn’t working right and the nerves begin to misfire.

There’s one specific condition, called Charcot-Marie-Tooth (CMT) disease, which can impact the nervous system on a fairly large scale, though the symptoms normally manifest chiefly in the extremities. high-frequency hearing loss can also be triggered by CMT according to some research.

Charot-Marie-Tooth Disease, What is it?

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

This means that the signals sent from your brain to those nerves (and from those nerves back to your brain) don’t progress all that well. Functionally, this can cause both a loss in motor function and a loss of sensation.

A mixture of genetic elements usually leads to the expression of symptoms, so CMT can be found in several varieties. Symptoms of CMT commonly start in the feet and go up to the arms. And, oddly, 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 established (that is, everybody knows someone who has a tells about it – at least inside of the CMT community). And it seemed to confuse 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 results were quite conclusive. Almost everyone with CMT passed their low and moderate frequency hearing exams with flying colors. But all of the participants showed hearing loss when it came to the high-frequency sounds (usually around the moderate levels). Based on this research, it seems pretty likely that CMT can at least be connected to high-frequency hearing loss.

The Cause of Hearing Loss and How to Treat It

At first, it could be perplexing to try to recognize the link between high-frequency hearing loss and CMT. But all of your body, from your toes to your eyebrows, relies on the proper functioning of nerves. That’s also the same for your ears.

The theory is, CMT impacts 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. Particularly, make out voices in crowded or noisy rooms can be a real challenge.

This kind of hearing loss is normally managed with hearing aids. There’s no known cure for CMT. Modern hearing aids can provide tremendous assistance in terms of fighting the effects of high-frequency loss of hearing, isolating only those ranges of sounds to boost. Most modern hearing aids can also perform well in noisy settings.

Hearing Loss Can Have A Number of Causes

Experts still aren’t completely sure why CMT and hearing loss seem to co-exist quite so frequently (beyond their untested hypothesis). But hearing aid tech provides a definite solution to the symptoms of that loss of hearing. So making an appointment to get fitted for hearing aids will be a good choice for people who suffer from CMT.

There are a range of causes for hearing loss symptoms. In some instances, loss of hearing is caused by excess exposure to damaging sounds. In other situations, loss of hearing may be the result of an obstruction. It also appears that CMT is another possible cause.

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