There are many disorders that can lead to a temporary and/or a permanent loss of hearing. The connection between many diseases and hearing loss is only recently beginning to be better understood, Hypothyroidism is just one example of a disease that has the ability to impact your hearing.
WHAT IS HYPOTHYROIDISM?
Hypothyroidism, also known as underactive thyroid, is a condition in which the thyroid gland, which supplies hormones to keep the metabolism in working order, is not functioning properly. This results in lower than required levels of essential hormones that are distributed to the rest of the body – undermining the body’s ability to function efficiently. Hypothyroidism affects over 5 million Americans with an estimated 9% – 16% of those being over the age of 60.
SYMPTOMS OF HYPOTHYROIDISM
The onset of Hypothyroidism can be insidious with numerous non-specific symptoms including:
- Tiredness, lethargy, intolerance to cold
- Dry skin and hair loss
- Slowing of intellectual activity, ex. poor memory and difficulty concentrating
- Decreased appetite with weight gain
- Deep hoarse voice
- Impaired hearing
WHY ARE YOUR EARS AFFECTED?
A study done by Malik et al. found that hypothyroidism affects the ear at multiple sites producing various types of hearing impairment conductive, sensorineural and mixed. In persons with hypothyroidism, there is a persistent low level of circulating thyroid hormones. Thyroid hormones regulate metabolism—the way the body uses energy—and affect nearly every organ in the body. Without enough thyroid hormone, many of the body’s functions slow down impacting nearly every part of your body, from your heart and brain, to your muscles and skin and ultimately your ears.