Of course, pregnancy is amazing and fantastic. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be rather unpleasant, at least sometimes. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health challenges, and all kinds of strange side effects. None of this takes away from the joy of being a parent… but it’s a whole process to get there.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of drawbacks.
Pregnancy isn’t usually the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-induced hearing loss is actually more common than most individuals may think. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-induced hearing loss is harmless and banal. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could require swift medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, it could be, depending on how quickly you treat it and what the underlying cause is.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss symptoms
You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. It’s not nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. This means that, generally, people might be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it might be beneficial to know what to look out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than turning the volume up on your television. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- You feel plugged in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have on a regular basis.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most evident. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” comes on suddenly and can be more noticeable. You need to convey any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your physician as soon as possible. You may need emergency treatment to prevent the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing problem with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear is not working properly, you might have issues with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. And that also applies to pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently linked to tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some circumstances, sound like your own heartbeat which is known as “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your care team about what you’re feeling.
None of these symptoms are inevitably universal. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but not others. Either way, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can in some cases be a sign of some rare but bigger issues.
The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? In some cases, possibly. 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 potential causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most common include:
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is doing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as an outcome.
- 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 might be caused by changes in your hormones or other changes in your body. It should be noted that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it affects hearing, is ongoing.
- High blood pressure: While you’re pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, in part, why it’s extremely important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can trigger high blood pressure. These are issues that need to be tracked carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your baby’s health. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant person.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well comprehended. The essential thing will be to keep track of your symptoms and be in frequent communication with your provider.
How do you manage this type of hearing loss?
The underlying cause of this kind of hearing loss will largely determine the course of treatment. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most common question people will have. Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should go back to normal, or possibly even sooner.
However, this isn’t always the default, so it’s essential to be aggressive when you detect symptoms. For example, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. Likewise, if you suffer from sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so important. 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
Protecting your hearing is something you need to pay attention to especially when you’re pregnant. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing assessment with us right away.