Hypothyroidism occurs when the thyroid does not produce enough of the thyroxine hormone. This can cause fatigue, depression, forgetfulness, and weight gain. This hormone is needed for normal development of the auditory system. Therefore, hearing loss has been connected with hypothyroidism and other thyroid related issues. Ongoing research studies are exploring the connection between hypothyroidism and hearing loss.
Hypothyroidism and Hearing Loss Study Details
A national population based study was posted in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism: Factors Associated with Hearing Impairment in Patients with Congenital Hypothyroidism Treated since the Neonatal Period. The context of the research study was that untreated hypothyroidism is known to impair hearing, but little is known about the long-term hearing of patients who have been treated for congenital hypothyroidism since the neonatal period.
- Patients had a risk of self-declared hearing loss more than 3 times higher than that for the reference population.
- Hearing impairment was diagnosed at a median age of 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, with at least one knee epiphyseal ossification center absent in the most severe form and with other associated chronic diseases
- A trend for association with serum free T4 concentration at diagnosis was also observed
- Hearing loss was mostly bilateral (90%), mild to moderate (96%), of the sensorineural type (76%), and concerned high or very high frequencies
Hypothyroidism and Hearing Loss Study Conclusion
Hearing loss still remains to be a significant problem, especially with patients who have severe congenital hypothyroidism. However, there have been some major improvements in the prognosis. Parents and primary care providers should be made aware of these risks as early diagnosis and intervention for hearing loss can improve the long-term prognosis for these patients.
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