“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?
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.