Sure, pregnancy is amazing and incredible. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be fairly unpleasant, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health hazards, and all kinds of strange side effects. None of this takes away from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now there’s another potential small drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most people don’t instantly connect hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-associated hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most people may think. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-related hearing loss is innocuous and banal. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and may call for immediate medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, it could be, depending on how fast you treat it and what the root cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t make an appearance on a lot of sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than simply turning the volume up on your devices, after all. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is frequently associated with pregnancy-related hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some cases, sound like your own heartbeat which is known as “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your doctor about what you’re feeling.
- Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is probably the most apparent indication of hearing loss. But if it occurs all of a sudden, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any type of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as you can. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may require emergency treatment.
- You feel plugged in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-related hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some instances, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Your hearing loss might be accompanied by dizziness and balance problems if you have a problem with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
These aren’t universal symptoms. You will probably experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss. In any case, if you experience hearing loss or any of the related symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s typically a good idea to talk to your doctor. That’s because these symptoms can in some cases be a sign of some rare but bigger issues.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Well, maybe, sometimes. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then impact your hearing.
So, what are the possible causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most prevalent include:
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other serious ailments. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be monitored.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of repercussions for your health and your child’s health. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant person.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you get pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. As a result, all sorts of changes are happening, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be obstructed by a condition called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still an ongoing process, and scientists are still figuring out exactly how much it impacts hearing.
In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well understood. The important thing will be to keep track of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your provider.
How is this type of hearing loss treated?
Treatment of this kind of hearing loss will usually depend on the underlying cause. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most prevalent question individuals will have. Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should return to normal, or maybe even sooner.
But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you observe because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. For instance, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. The outcome will also depend on how quickly you get treatment in the case of sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
That’s why it’s so essential to be certain that you report these symptoms to your doctor. You may then undergo a complete hearing screening or evaluation to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s essential to make sure you pay attention to and protect your hearing. One of the best ways to do that is to remain in touch with us and with your care team. Give us a call today to schedule a hearing evaluation.