Sure, pregnancy is amazing and fantastic. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be pretty unpleasant, at least sometimes. There are all kinds of peculiar side effects, including morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. None of this takes away 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 disadvantages.
Most people don’t instantly connect hearing loss with pregnancy. So it may be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is somewhat common. It’s not a bad plan to keep an eye out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-associated hearing loss isn’t something you should be concerned about in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could call for swift medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, it could be, depending on how quickly you treat it and what the root cause is.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on many sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. This means that, generally speaking, individuals may be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond cranking the volume up on your television. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing problem with the inner ear can be the source of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss might be accompanied by dizziness and balance problems if you have a problem with your inner ear. And that also applies to pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- A plugged feeling in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss could in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- 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 instances, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “pulsatile tinnitus”. You should talk to your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is likely the most evident indication of hearing loss. But if it occurs all of a sudden, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to convey any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your physician as soon as you can. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you might need emergency treatment.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
None of these symptoms are necessarily universal. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but maybe not others. In any case, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s usually a good idea to talk to your provider. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious problem.
What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Well, maybe, in some cases. But being pregnant may also impact other parts of your body that will then go on to impact your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Here are several of the most prevalent causes:
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. So telling your doctor about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are problems that need to be watched carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- 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 individuals, this faster bone growth may be caused by changes 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.
- 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 sometimes be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you get pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. As a result, all sorts of changes are afoot, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss could be difficult to identify. Regularly consulting your doctor and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How do you manage this kind of hearing loss?
The root cause of this kind of hearing loss will largely dictate the course of treatment. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most prevalent question people will have. In most instances, yes, your hearing will return to normal once your pregnancy is over, or maybe even before.
However, this isn’t always the situation, so it’s essential to be proactive when you observe symptoms. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you could require additional treatment. Similarly, if you suffer from sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.
That’s why it’s so important to be certain that you report these symptoms to your provider. The next step will most likely be a comprehensive hearing assessment to eliminate any more serious conditions and try to diagnose the underlying cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s essential to make sure you watch out for and protect your hearing. One of the best ways to do that is to remain in touch with us and with your care team. Schedule a hearing test with us right away.