ENT testing of thyroid gland - definitive test?

A while ago I complained to my GP about difficulties with my voice (very poor quality, scratchy, so low that my husband constantly complains that he can't hear me) and speech (slurred when tired, mixing words up, etc, cf. yesterday's post) (NB I have not been diagnosed with hypothyroid as all TFTs come back within range). She sent me to an ENT consultant who carried out investigations which involved a camera being inserted through the nose to the voice box.

Apparently, the camera also investigated the thyroid gland. The results came back wth the conclusion that there was nothing wrong with the thyroid.

Would this be a definitive or reliable test? On Thyroid UK all mention of testing the gland itself refers to an ultrasound (unless I've missed postings).

Just curious...

5 Replies

  • Ann_g_k, the thyroid function test is the 'definitive' thyroid test ie how much hormone is being produced. Six months ago your TSH was 3.14 which is high enough to cause hypothyroid symptoms even though your 3.14 is within range. Unfortunately the UK range is very broad and most people don't get a diagnosis and treatment until TSH is over 5 and some have to wait until they are overtly hypothyroid with TSH >10.

    An ultrasound scan measures the size of the thyroid gland, notes the condition of it ie coarsened texture often denotes autoimmune (Hashimoto's) damage whereas smooth texture is healthy, and notes whether there are nodules or goiter. I'm not sure what the camera down your throat detects but I guess it will show that the thyroid gland appears to be healthy and there isn't a nodule or goiter impacting your vocal chords causing your voice problems.

    Slurring and mixing up words are typical hypothyroid symptoms. If your last thyroid function test was 6 months ago ask your GP to do another. Have the test early in the morning when TSH is highest. TSH is also higher in the winter so it may have risen sufficiently for a diagnosis.


  • Thank you very much Clutter. The dysarthria is also associated with ME (which I was diagnosed with over 20 years ago), but if you think of ME as undiagnosed hypo, then there's the answer!

    I'm due for vit D retesting so will ask for TSH testing too.

  • I have had two endoscopies in the past two months as I also have voice problems. They look to check health, movement and correct function.

    For example mine vocal chords are healthy, they move but do not close together completely and I have to have speech therapy.

    Since my hemi thyroidectomy last week my voice quality is so much better and my sternohyoid muscle that was pushed by my nodule has retracted so I am hoping for further improvement. Did they say how your vocal chords were?

  • Many thanks for your reply. The ENT specialist didn't mention the vocal chords as such but I was referred to speech therapy and the therapist said I had a naturally weak voice and gave me exercises which helped a little but not massively.

  • Hi,

    Endoscopes are usually done to check for abnormalities to the throat (blockages, tissue, disease etc). As far as I am aware not at all relevant to the thyroid (that's the info my ENT gave me when I had this procedure).

    As Greygoose said, ultra sounds are usually done to check the thyroid gland.

    Several consultants have told me ultra scans are not overlay accurate but the initial check. A more specialist scan would be ordered if their is any suspicion of need from the ultra sound scan.

    I can only tell you this from my actual experience. I'd had several us scans (within about 6 months) before the my abnormalities were picked up. Then a specialist scan to diagnose.


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