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Language disorders in children with congenital hypothyroidism



Congenital hypothyroidism (CH) represents one of the most common preventable causes of mental retardation. If fetal hypothyroidism develops, untoward effects may be shown in certain organ systems, including the central nervous system. CH may be associated with hearing and language impairment. It is possible that this impairment may worsen with delay of therapy. Problems in language, auditory processing, and reading may persist in hypothyroid children, particularly if their treatment with l-thyroxin is delayed into the third week of life.

The aim of this study is to estimate the extent of language disorder and detect the factors influencing language acquisition in children with CH.

Patients and methods

This study included 60 children. The study group included 40 children who complained of CH. The age range of this group was 3–8 years. The children of the study group were divided according to the level of thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) and T4 into two subgroups. The G1 subgroup included children with controlled CH and subgroup G2 included children with uncontrolled hypothyroidism. The results of the study group were compared with those of another group (control group), which included 20 children; both groups were matched for age and sex. The children of both groups were subjected to the protocol of language assessment.

Results and conclusion

The current study showed that the children with uncontrolled CH show delayed language, mental, social age, and intelligence quotient in comparison with children with controlled hypothyroidism and normal children.

There is a need for the diagnosis and treatment of children with CH as soon as possible after birth, preferably no later than the second week of life. It is also important to screen hypothyroid children for hearing problems and to provide remediation in language and reading.


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Correspondence to Mohammed A. Gomaa.

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Mohamed, H.M., Zaki, E., Abdall, A.A.B. et al. Language disorders in children with congenital hypothyroidism. Egypt J Otolaryngol 33, 685–690 (2017).

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  • hypothyroidism
  • language development