Nearly 60% of the estimated 20 million Americans who have thyroid disease aren’t aware that they have the condition.1 Another thing they may not know? That thyroid disease can impact your hearing. Since January is Thyroid Awareness Month, now’s the perfect time to learn more about the thyroid and your ears.
What Does the Thyroid Do?
The thyroid, a small butterfly-shaped gland in the back of your throat, produces thyroid hormones (TH) responsible for regulating many of the body’s daily functions. Every tissue and organ in the human body is affected by the thyroid.
When too little or too much TH is produced, your health can be affected.
Hypothyroidism occurs when too little TH is produced, leading to weight gain, fatigue and depression.
Hyperthyroidism occurs when too much TH is produced, causing faster heart rate, weight loss and tremors.
The Thyroid and Hearing Health
Research is still ongoing, but both hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism have been linked to hearing loss. According to one study conducted in Taiwan, patients with a history of either condition were more likely to experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss.2
In addition, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism published a study connecting hearing loss with hypothyroidism. The study found that patients with congenital (present at birth) hypothyroidism were three times more likely to self-declare hearing loss than the reference population and that 17% of these affected patients required hearing support in early adulthood.3
Even the treatment of thyroid problems can wreak havoc on your hearing. Thyroid cancer patients who undergo radiation therapy may experience hearing loss, while patients who use the thyroid eye disease drug Tepezza report hearing dysfunction as a side effect.4
Think you may have hearing loss due to a thyroid issue? Contact our Hearing Focused team at (262) 679-8888 to schedule your appointment.
1 American Thyroid Association. (n.d.). General Information/Press Room. https://www.thyroid.org/media-main/press-room/
2 Tsai, Y., Chang, I, et al. (2020, January 29). Association between sudden sensorineural hearing loss and preexisting thyroid diseases: A nationwide case-control study in Taiwan. Int J Environ Res Public Health. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7037331/
3 Lichtenberger-Geslin, L. (2013, September). Factors Associated With Hearing Impairment in Patients With Congenital Hypothyroidism Treated Since the Neonatal Period: A National Population-Based Study. The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism. https://academic.oup.com/jcem/article/98/9/3644/2833132
4 Melville, N. (2021, October 08). Hearing dysfunction with new thyroid eye drug is common, persistent. Medscape. https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/960508