Of course, pregnancy is awesome and wonderful. But it can also be sort of… unpleasant, at least sometimes, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. There are all sorts of peculiar side effects, like morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. None of this takes away from the delight of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now there’s another possible little disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most individuals don’t immediately associate hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-induced hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most individuals might presume. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you need to be concerned about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and might call for immediate medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss clear up? Well, the answer kind of depends on the underlying cause, and how fast you address it.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t make an appearance on a lot of sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. People generally don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it may be beneficial to know what to look out for.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond simply turning the volume up on your devices, after all. Here are a few of the most common:
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is frequently associated with pregnancy-induced hearing loss. In some situations, this tinnitus might 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.
- Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is probably the most apparent indication of hearing loss. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” happens all of a sudden and can be more apparent. Any type of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as possible. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may require emergency treatment.
- You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-induced 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 may be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have an issue with your inner ear. And that also applies to pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Headaches and migraines: You may also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
These aren’t universal symptoms. 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 contact your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be a sign of some rare but bigger issues.
What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Does being pregnant impact hearing? Well, perhaps, sometimes. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then impact your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common include:
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be affected in lots of ways by an iron deficiency. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you get pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as a result.
- High blood pressure: While you are pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, in part, why it’s extremely important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other serious ailments. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be tracked.
- Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be blocked by a disorder called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. Pregnancy produces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this kind of bone growth. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and just how much it affects hearing, is ongoing.
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of obstruction in your ear (like earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss could be difficult to identify. The essential thing will be to keep track of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.
How do you manage this form of hearing loss?
Treatment of this form of hearing loss will likely depend on the underlying cause. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most common question people will have. In most cases, yes, your hearing will return to normal once your pregnancy is over, or maybe even before.
But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you notice because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. The outcome will also depend on how fast you get treatment in the case of sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so essential. You might then undergo a complete hearing screening or assessment to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more dangerous possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s essential to be sure you pay attention to and protect your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing assessment with us right away.