What does a plum-sized gland in your neck have to do with your ears?
This isn’t a trick question, however most people probably wouldn’t know the answer. It is of course thyroid disease. That plum-sized gland in your neck is your thyroid gland and when it doesn’t work properly, namely when you get thyroid disease, your hearing can also be damaged.
What does your thyroid gland do?
A lot, as it happens. It produces 2 hormones that control your metabolism and consequently affects almost every aspect of the way your body works, including your heart rate, energy levels, digestion, muscle control, brain development, bone maintenance and mood.
What happens when your thyroid gland doesn’t work properly?
Thyroid disease refers to a group of diseases that affect your thyroid gland; some make your thyroid produce too much hormone, some make it produce too little.
When it makes too much hormone, as happens in hyperthyroidism, you can experience unexpected weight loss, vision problems, irritability, sleeplessness, muscle weakness and nervousness. Hypothyroidism is the opposite condition, when too little hormone is produced. This results in unexpected weight gain, tiredness, depression and forgetfulness.
There is also Goiter, where the thyroid gland becomes swollen, making it harder to comfortably breathe and swallow, and thyroid cancer which can result in the same symptoms, as well as pain in the front of the neck and changes to your voice.
What about hearing loss and thyroid disease?
Some thyroid diseases, namely Graves’ disease, Hashimoto’s disease and Pendred Syndrome, also cause hearing loss. Researchers don’t yet know how or why this happens. But as with most symptoms, if left untreated, it gets worse.
If you have thyroid disease, you may be so overwhelmed by all the other symptoms that you don’t at first notice your hearing loss. Straining to hear the TV, your cell or people in conversation are all signs that your hearing is diminishing. As soon as you spot the signs of hearing loss or even before, now that you’ve read this blog, it is worth going to see an Audiologist to get your hearing health checked.
Click here to book your appointment and get the help you need to enjoy healthy hearing.