Sure, pregnancy is awesome and fantastic. But it can also be sort of… unpleasant, at least sometimes, and at least in terms of how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health challenges, and all sorts of weird side effects. Getting there can be a bit of a process, but that doesn’t detract from the joy of being a parent.
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. So it may be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is somewhat common. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-associated hearing loss is innocuous and banal. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could require swift medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly 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 many sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. This means that, generally speaking, people might be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it might be helpful to know what to watch out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond turning the volume up on your television. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most apparent. 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 prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may require emergency treatment.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is often linked to pregnancy-induced hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some circumstances, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your doctor about what you’re feeling.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
- A feeling of fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear is not working correctly, you might have problems with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. And that also goes for pregnancy-related hearing loss.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but maybe not others. In any case, if you experience hearing loss or any of the related symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s usually a good idea to talk to your provider. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious problem.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Does being pregnant affect hearing? Well, perhaps, 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 possible causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most common include:
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition called otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. Pregnancy produces hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out just how much it affects hearing.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is performing an extraordinary amount of work when you get pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are experiencing lots of changes, as a result.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your child’s health. 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, typical things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- 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 tracked.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss could be difficult to determine. The important thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in frequent communication with your doctor.
How is this kind of hearing loss managed?
The root cause of this kind of hearing loss will largely dictate the course of treatment. The question that most individuals have is: will my hearing loss clear up? 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 proactive when you notice symptoms. You might require additional treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for example. The outcome will also depend on how quickly you get treatment when it comes to abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your physician is so important. You might then go through a comprehensive hearing screening or evaluation to help figure out your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more dangerous possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Protecting your hearing is something you need to watch out for especially 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 test with us right away.