Hypothyroidism & Hearing Loss

We are learning more every day about the relationship between hearing loss and other aspects of bodily functioning. Some conditions have a clear relationship, as is the case with hearing loss cardiovascular disease. We can clearly see how a depleted supply of oxygen can deprive the ears of what they need to do the work of hearing. Similarly, we can imagine how hearing loss is related to dementia. The brain needs “exercise” to remain healthy, agile, and strong, but hearing loss deprives the mind of language practice that is necessary to continue to process information. 

Other conditions are still under investigation. Looking at the raw statistics shows us that certain conditions are far more likely among those with hearing loss, and yet experts are still trying to understand how these conditions relate within the body. Such is the case with hypothyroidism. We know that about half of the people with hypothyroidism also have some form of hearing loss, and yet it is difficult to understand how the conditions are connected. Let’s take a closer look at the thyroid, how it functions, what kind of dysfunctions are possible, and how the particular dysfunction of hypothyroidism might connect with hearing loss

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid is a butterfly-shaped gland located in front of the windpipe. When everything is in good working order, you won’t be able to feel or notice the thyroid gland, but it can grow into a visible protrusion when something is amiss. Particularly in the case of goiter, the thyroid can grow to a size that appears like a large growth on the neck. The thyroid gland regulates metabolism and energy flow through the body. It is responsible for dispensing hormones that regulate such essential functions as heart rate, breathing, nervous system activity, and regulating body weight. With these crucial functions in mind, it is important to keep the thyroid in top health.

What can go wrong with the thyroid?

The thyroid can experience dysfunction in a number of ways. In addition to goiter, described above, the gland can experience an excess or deficit of activity. In the first case, hyperthyroidism, the gland becomes overactive, leading to excessive weight loss, nervous system issues, and anxiety. In the other case, hypothyroidism, the gland does not deliver enough hormones to regulate energy resources in the body. Those with hypothyroidism often experience weight gain, lethargy, fatigue, and even depression. 

How is hypothyroidism connected to hearing loss?

If we take a look at the raw statistics, we can see that about half of people with hypothyroidism have some form of hearing loss. This rate is much higher than the general public, so experts understand that the two conditions are connected in some way. And yet, much remains to be learned about the connection between hypothyroidism and hearing loss. Without enough of the thyroid gland’s hormones to manage bodily activity, many systems and functions can be compromised. The heart and brain can both be affected by this deficit of hormones to regulate energetic resources, and the ears can be affected, as well. In addition to hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo are connected to hypothyroidism, as well. These relationships suggest that something might be happening in the equilibrium of the inner ear when a person has hypothyroidism. 

What can I do about these conditions?

If you or someone you love has hypothyroidism, this can be seen as a warning sign for the possibility of hearing loss. The first step is to make sure you are getting the support you need for hypothyroidism. Endocrine specialists can offer treatment to make it possible to jump-start

 thyroid gland activity and the delivery of essential hormones. At the same time as you are managing thyroid activity, be sure to get a hearing test as soon as possible. 

Even those who do not realize it can have reduced hearing ability. The earlier you have a diagnosis of hearing loss, the sooner you can pursue the treatment you need. The latest hearing aids are technologically equipped to improve communication and to restore the enjoyment of the richly sounding world, as well. Don’t delay making an appointment for a hearing test if you know that you have low thyroid functioning.