Sure, pregnancy is amazing and incredible. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be pretty uncomfortable, at least in some cases. There are all sorts of weird side effects, like morning sickness, health challenges, and changes to your body. None of this takes away from the joy of being a parent… but it’s a whole process to get there.
And now there’s another potential little disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most people don’t immediately associate hearing loss with pregnancy. So it might be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is fairly prevalent. It’s not a bad plan to keep an eye out for these symptoms. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-associated hearing loss is harmless and banal. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and might require immediate medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you treat it and what the underlying cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. This means that, generally speaking, people may be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than turning up the volume on your television. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is likely the most apparent indication of hearing loss. But if it comes on suddenly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any type of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as you can. You might need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-related hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some cases, whatever is impacting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear isn’t functioning correctly, you might experience issues with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
- You feel a fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss may in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is often linked to tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some cases, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is called pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your care team about what you’re feeling.
None of these symptoms are fundamentally universal. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but maybe not others. Either way, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be a sign of some rare but larger issues.
What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Does being pregnant affect hearing? In some cases, possibly. But being pregnant may also impact other parts of your body that will then go on to impact your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-induced hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most common include:
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be impacted in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- High blood pressure: When you are pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, to some extent, why it’s extremely important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe ailments. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be monitored.
- 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 quickly. In pregnant women, this quicker bone growth may be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still working out exactly how much it affects hearing.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is doing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. As a result, all kinds of changes are afoot, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well understood. The important thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in regular communication with your provider.
How do you manage this kind of hearing loss?
Treatment of this form of hearing loss will usually depend on the root cause. The question that most individuals have is: will my hearing return to normal? Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should go back to normal, or maybe even sooner.
But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you detect because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. You might require additional treatment if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, for example. The outcome will also depend on how rapidly you get treatment in the case of sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so important. You might then undergo a comprehensive hearing screening or evaluation to help figure out your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more dangerous possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Safeguarding your hearing is something you should pay attention to particularly when you’re pregnant. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Give us a call today to schedule a hearing evaluation.