Sure, pregnancy is amazing and incredible. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be fairly unpleasant, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health hazards, and all kinds of strange side effects. None of this detracts from the joy of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of drawbacks.
Most individuals don’t immediately connect hearing loss with pregnancy. So it may be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is somewhat prevalent. It’s not a bad plan to keep an eye out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-associated hearing loss isn’t something you need to be worried about in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could call for swift medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, it could be, depending on how quickly you address it and what the root cause is.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t make an appearance on a lot of sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. This means that, generally speaking, individuals might be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it may be beneficial to know what to watch out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than cranking the volume up on your television. Here are a few of the most common:
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-related hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some situations, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear is not functioning correctly, you may experience issues with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. And that also applies to pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- A plugged feeling in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is often linked to tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some situations, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). You should consult your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most obvious. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” comes on suddenly and can be more noticeable. Any type of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as possible. You may require emergency treatment to prevent the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
These aren’t universal symptoms. 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 plan to contact your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious concern.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Well, possibly, in some cases. But other parts of your body are impacted by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.
So, what are the likely causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Here are several of the most common causes:
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of blockage in your ear (such as earwax), this can trigger hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is performing an extraordinary amount of work when you become pregnant. As a consequence, all kinds of changes are afoot, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. Serious ailments, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be tracked.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition known as otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear start growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. Pregnancy induces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still an ongoing process, and scientists are still figuring out exactly how much it impacts hearing.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of repercussions for your health and your baby’s health. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss could be difficult to determine. Regularly consulting your physician and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How do you manage this kind of hearing loss?
Treatment of this kind of hearing loss will usually depend on the root cause. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most prevalent question individuals will have. Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should return to normal, or possibly even sooner.
But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you notice because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. You may need additional treatment if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, for example. Similarly, if you suffer from abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so essential. You may then undergo a comprehensive hearing screening or evaluation to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Safeguarding your hearing is something you should watch out for particularly when you’re pregnant. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Schedule a hearing assessment with us right away.