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ENT Facial and Neck Surgery Stéphane Hervé

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THYROID AND TINNITUS PROBLEMS

December 2, 2017

 

Tinnitus is a medical term for "buzzing or whistling in the ears.” This type of noise can be heard in one ear, both ears, in the middle of the head or can be simply difficult to identify. The noise may be low, medium or high and may be continuous or discontinuous. This sound is heard in the absence of all the real external sounds and is perceived only by the patient who suffers from it. Tinnitus is to be differentiated from the noises that can be perceived by the doctor, such as the carotid breath or crunches of the jaw.

 

Tinnitus can occur at any age, especially after exposure to loud noises, but it is rarely a major problem unless it becomes chronic.

 

There is no single cause for tinnitus but it is a common symptom of thyroid dysfunction (dysthyroidism). Many people with dysthyroidism experience tinnitus. 

 

The thyroid is the main gland of the endocrine system. Located in the lower part of the neck, it plays a crucial role in the metabolism of the human body and in hundreds of body functions: a thyroid gland that does not function properly can cause neurological disorders, also affecting the ear (hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo).

 

The two most common problems with thyroid dysfunction are:

 

• Hyperthyroidism (overproduction of thyroid hormones)

  • Hypothyroidism (underproduction of thyroid hormones)

 

Hyperthyroidism affects only 1% of the population. It influences the entire human metabolism. The most common symptoms include weight loss, tachycardia (accelerated heartbeat), hyperactivity, aggression, insomnia, hot flashes, sometimes exophthalmos (prominent eyeballs) and tinnitus of pulsatile nature related to the heart rate.

 

Hypothyroidism is a bit more common. It affects about 1% to 2% of women and less than half percentage of men and becomes more common with age. In case of hypothyroidism, the symptoms are the opposite of those of hyperthyroidism: weight gain, slow heartbeat, fatigue, lack of desire, lack of drive, cautiousness. As for tinnitus, it is usually felt as a constant noise.

 

Tinnitus diminishes or disappears by resolving the dysthyroidism.

 

The most common treatment for hypothyroidism is synthetic hormone replacement therapy, but also the use of supplements has shown some efficacy in improving thyroid function. Among these:

 

a) Coconut oil: it raises the basic body temperature while increasing metabolism and is therefore good for people with hypothyroidism,

 

b) Iodine: iodine deficiency, a major cause of thyroid dysfunction, can be controlled by foods containing it (yogurt, eggs, meat, fish and other seafood, radishes, parsley, potatoes, oatmeal, bananas and seaweed),

 

c) Selenium: most people with hypothyroidism have selenium deficiency,

 

d) Tyrosine: Tyrosine is an amino acid needed by the body to produce thyroid hormones just like iodine. It is synthesized by the body, but it can also be provided by food (almond, avocado, banana, Lima bean, pumpkin seed, sesame seed, hard cheese, soya).

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