Are Hearing Loss & Hypothyroidism Linked?

You may not realize that there are different ailments that can cause a hearing loss. Understanding the connections and educating yourself on the ailments can help you to prevent a hearing loss.

Both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism can cause hearing loss. Different thyroid conditions can affect not only hearing loss, but tinnitus and balance too.

How Are Hearing Loss And Hypothyroidism Linked? defines hypothyroidism as an underactive thyroid gland. It is the result of the thyroid not producing enough of the hormone thyroxine. This can cause depression, fatigue, forgetfulness, and weight gain. Thyroxine is also needed for normal 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.” The research study looked at how untreated hypothyroidism is known to impair hearing. Little is known about the long-term hearing of patients who have been treated for congenital hypothyroidism since the neonatal period. The study 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. In addition, if you have noticed any signs of hearing loss, we invite you to stop in for a consultation.

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