Each month, we have brought more awareness on how whole health of the body affects our hearing. When I talk about many of these issues or ask about case history with our patients, we hear quite often, “I don’t see how this can affect our hearing.” Also, many times health conditions aren’t even brought up because people think nothing affects our hearing except “old age.” This is absolutely not true.
This month is National Thyroid Awareness Month, and let me share how this can affect your hearing health.
According to the American Thyroid Association, more than 12 percent of the US population will develop a thyroid condition during their lifetime (thyroid.org) and up to 60% of that number are unaware of their condition. Thyroid issues affect women 5 to 8 times more than men.
Our thyroid is a hormone producing gland that regulates our body’s metabolism and is central to energy levels and heart rates along with influencing every cell, tissue and organ in our body. This small gland found in the lower part of our neck is a big deal!
Too little (hypothyroid) of the hormone, can make us feel tired, depressed, forget things and put on weight. Too much (hyperthyroid), can make us irritable, nervous, have muscle weakness, weight loss, insomnia and problems with our eyes and vision.
Research is continuing as to why the thyroid is so critical in affecting our hearing, tinnitus, and balance. There are diseases/syndromes that are directly linked to thyroid issues and hearing loss such as Pendred Syndrome, Grave’s Disease, and Hashimoto’s Disease. If thyroid cancer is treated with radiation in the head/neck region hearing loss is more likely to appear.
If either hyper or hypothyroidism is left untreated, it can lead to a progressive hearing loss. But studies suggest that L-thyroxine hormone therapy can improve hearing, which is strong evidence for having your thyroid checked regularly and following the treatment your physician recommends.
Audiologists do more than just check your hearing; we consider your whole health history and report back to your other medical team members. Catching a hearing problem early is important for many health reasons! Make your appointment today!