CMT Might Have Given Me Hearing Loss

CMT Might Have Given Me Hearing Loss

“Can you repeat that?”

“I am sorry, but I cannot hear you, please speak louder.”

I am saying these things more often than I used to. It is worse when there is background noise, like an air conditioner or a running projector. This is particularly problematic in the classroom. I find that I often need to ask my students to speak up or repeat themselves.

I’ve begun to wonder if this new occurrence has anything to do with Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease (CMT). My dad and my older brother, who both have CMT, use hearing aids. Is it just bad genes or is there more to it? I also find that some sounds seem louder than they actually are. Loud noises sometimes even hurt my ears. My dad often says the same things.

I decided to do some internet research to see if there is a connection between hearing loss and CMT1A, the type my family has. Interestingly, some research suggests that there is a connection. An article published by the Charcot-Marie-Tooth Association states that CMT can affect the cochlear nerves. This varies greatly by the subtype of CMT, with approximately 15 percent of patients with CMT1A complaining about hearing loss. According to the article, this type of hearing loss makes it more difficult to hear when there are loud background noises, which I often find to be true.

A study published in the journal Neurology also shows a correlation between hearing loss and CMT. Researchers studied 25 patients and found that those with CMT1A had a difficult time understanding speech when there are background noises. They concluded that the hearing loss problem is part cochlear and part neural in nature (as in, both an ear structure and brain problem). That makes sense because CMT is neurological.

It seems that my hearing issues may be related to CMT. I think that I should probably have a hearing screening at my next physical, just to see if there is an issue or not. I am not sure what the next steps will be. CMT seems to affect so many things. It feels like they are finding out more and more about how CMT affects the body every day.

Have you experienced hearing loss? How do you deal with it?

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Note: Charcot-Marie-Tooth News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Charcot-Marie-Tooth News or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to Charcot-Marie-Tooth.

5 comments

  1. Madeleine says:

    Jill,

    I have not experienced hearing loss, but do feel physical pain when in a movie theatre with very loud volume or when my husband blasts the stereo. Never connected it with the CMT, though. Interesting!

  2. Jody spencer says:

    I am 35 when I was 34 I was fitted for hearing aids and was told that my type of cmt could explain why I’m losing my hearing . I also have cmt type1A

  3. Nancy Nies says:

    I never knew of the connection between hearing pain and hearing loss. That’s most interesting. I just had a hearing test last week. I’m older and my hearing results were typical for age-related hearing loss, but I know that with background noise, I find it very difficult to differentiate sounds. The hearing test was done with just single words spoken in a soundproof room. I think the results were skewed in favor of showing more normal hearing than I really have, now that I think about it. It didn’t test for where my problem really exists — sounds mixed with other sounds. But I’m not an expert. Perhaps this test is as good as test are these days, and hearing aids work within the parameters of that test. I never made the connection between my lack of appetite to hear things more loudly and CMT.

  4. Anne Faseler says:

    Yep, my husband asked me to get my hearing checked when he grew tired of me asking him to repeat himself. The audiologist said I have mild to moderate loss across all ranges of sounds, typical for a neural loss and not secondary to exposure to loud noises. But hearing aids are not covered under my insurance and we cannot afford them right now. So, at least my problem is defined and I have reason to ask others to please speak up! (Diagnosed CMT type 1A in 2010)

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