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© Borgis - New Medicine 3/1999, s. 56-58
Elżbieta Reroń1, Halina Dziatkowiak2, Paweł Stręk1, Małgorzata Kumorowicz-Kopiec2, Joanna Kazanecka2, Ryszard Ratajczak2
The influence of congenital hypothyroidism on the hearing organ in children
1 Jagiellonian University, Faculty of Medicine, E.N.T. Department, Cracow Jagiellonian University, Polish-American Children´s Hospital
Head: Prof. Eugeniusz Olszewski, M.D.
2 Department of Endocrinology, Cracow
Head: Prof. Hanna Dziatkowiak, M.D.
The thyroid hormones are the fundamental factor which controls metabolic processes, and determines physical and neuropsychological development from the moment of conception through out the whole life of an individual. Moreover, they have a significant influence on the development of the central nervous system and also, as experiments on animals have shown, on the maturation of the structures of the internal ear. Therefore, an insufficiency of the thyroid hormones can increase the risk of hearing loss in children.
The studies included 75 children aged between 3 and 16 years treated in the Endocrinological Out-Patient Clinic of the Polish-American Children´s University Hospital, in Cracow.
Each child underwent hearing assessment with the use of subjective tests, such as pure tone and verbal audiometry (if possible) and objective tests, such as registration of acoustic brain stem responses (ABR), evoked otoacustic emissions (EOAE) and tympanometry.
The studies showed the correct hearing threshold in 119 ears (79.4%) but in the remaining 31 ears (20.6%) a slight conductive and sensory-nervous hearing loss.
The results of audiometric examinations of children with hearing impairment were correlated with the intensity of hearing loss.
The relationship between hearing loss and hormonal secretion by the thyroid was observed a long time ago, not only in patients with Pendred syndrome (5, 6, 7, 13) or endemic cretinism (9), but also in adults and children with congenital or acquired hypothyroidism (2). Numerous experiments on animals (chickens, rodents and monkeys) have shown that thyroid hormones play an essential role in maturation of the structures of the internal ear (14, 15, 16, 18, 19).
Studies by Meyerhof (16) on guinea pigs and by Uziel et al. (18) on rats, in which hypothyroidism was triggered with radioactive iodine131 or propylthiouracyl within a few dozen days after the birth, showed profound deformities and significant immaturity of the sensory and supportive cells in the organ of Corti - the lesions responsible for hearing loss.
Congenital hypothyroidism increases the risk of hearing loss in children. Its incidence in population a child is 1:3500 to 1:4000. Depending on the functional condition of the mother and the degree of thyroid insufficiency in the foetus, a newborn with congenital hypothyroidism can present a range of clinical manifestations from symptomatic to asymptomatic form.
A comprehensive, retrospective audiological evaluation of the hearing organ in children with congenital hypothyroidism (CH) was carried out to:
1. Evaluate the hearing acuity in children,
2. Localise the impairment site in cases of hearing loss.
The studies included 75 children aged from 3 to 16 years (mean age 7.4 years) treated in the Endocrinological Out-patient Clinic of the Polish-American Children´s University Hospital. The control group comprised 30 otologically healthy children of the same age. Audiometric tests were performed in the Audiology Laboratory of the ENT Department, Jagiellonian University Hospital in Cracow.
The comprehensive evaluation of the hearing organ in each of the children was carried out using subjective audiometric tests, such as pure tone audiometry and objective tests, such as (1) registration of acoustic brain stem responses (ABR) (if necessary), (2) registration of evoked otoacoustic emission (EOAE) and (3) tympanometric tests. In pure tone audiometry, hearing acuity was assessed using pure tone average (PTA).
According to the accepted classification (1), hearing loss is determined by a hearing threshold higher than 20 dB for one or both ears. Hearing loss is assessed as slight when the threshold value ranges from 21 to 40 dB and moderate when the threshold value is between 41 and 55 dB.
Analysis of the average values of the hearing threshold using PTA showed that in 119 ears (79.45) hearing was within the norm, and a slight hearing impairment of 2140dB was observed in 31 ears (20.6%) (Tab. 1).
Table 1. Hearing threshold in various types of tympanometry.
Hearing within norm11979.40%101
Hearing loss of 21-40 dB3120.60%16
Assessing the functional condition of the middle ear with tympanometry, in a group of 119 ears with a normal hearing threshold, in 101 ears (84.8%) type A tympanograms were obtained, whereas in the remaining 18 ears (15.2%) we obtained type C tympanograms. Of 31 ears with hearing impairment, A type tympanograms were obtained in 16 ears (51.6%), type B in 12 ears (38.7%), and type C in 3 ears (9.7%).

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New Medicine 3/1999
Strona internetowa czasopisma New Medicine

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