Did you know that our ability to hear can be an indicator of our overall health? Our auditory system is a sophisticated network of nerves, blood vessels, bones and muscles. When one of the components of our auditory system isn’t working as it should, our ability to hear can be affected.
Thyroid conditions are an example of a physical condition that can affect your hearing. It’s estimated that up to 20 million Americans have a form of thyroid disease. But up to 60% are unaware of their thyroid condition.
Hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause hearing loss. In fact, different thyroid conditions can affect your balance and tinnitus, as well as your hearing.
How Are Hearing Loss And Hypothyroidism Linked?
Thryoid.org defines hypothyroidism as an underactive thyroid gland. It’s caused by your thyroid not producing enough of the hormone thyroxine. Hypothyroidism can cause forgetfulness, depression, fatigue, and weight gain. This can cause depression, fatigue, forgetfulness, and weight gain.
Thyroid hormone is also shown to play an important role in the development of the auditory system. In fact, about half of the people with low thyroid function have hearing losses.
The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism published a national population-based study entitled, “Factors Associated with Hearing Impairment in Patients with Congenital Hypothyroidism Treated since the Neonatal Period.”
We don’t know much about how a person’s hearing is affected if they have been receiving treatment for hypothyroidism since they were babies. The study aimed to shed some light on this. It found:
- Patients were 3x more likely to self-declare hearing loss than that for the reference population.
- The median age of diagnosing a hearing impairment was 7 years old.
- 17% of affected patients required hearing support in early adulthood
- Hearing loss was associated with the type of congenital hypothyroidism with disease severity, as assessed by bone maturation delay at the time of diagnosis. At least one knee epiphyseal ossification center absent in the most severe form and with other associated chronic diseases
- Hearing loss was mostly bilateral (90%), mild to moderate (96%), of the sensorineural type (76%), and concerned high, or very high frequencies.
How Else Can Your Thyroid Affect Your Hearing?
Alongside hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism, other thyroid conditions may cause hearing loss, tinnitus, and balance issues. These include:
- Pendred Syndrome
- Grave’s Disease
- Hashimoto’s Disease
Hearing loss is typically not one of the first symptoms for either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism. It is therefore possible to diagnose and treat thyroid issues before they impact your hearing.
Common symptoms for hypothyroidism can include depression, fatigue, forgetfulness, and weight gain. Symptoms of hyperthyroidism include irritability, nervousness, muscle weakness, unexplained weight loss, sleep disturbances, vision problems, and eye irritation. If you are experiencing these symptoms, we recommend that you speak to your medical practitioner.
Our hearing and overall health are closely connected. Identifying changes to your hearing could help you identify an underlying medical condition. It’s just one more reason that a hearing assessment should be part of your annual physical.If you’d like to discuss further, or if it is time for you to book a hearing assessment, get in touch. The hearing care professionals at Hearing Balance & Speech Center would be happy to help. Call us today on 1-800-HEAR-IT-1 or request an appointment online.