Sure, pregnancy is awesome and incredible. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be rather uncomfortable, at least in some cases. There are all kinds of weird side effects, like morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. Getting there can be somewhat 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.
Most people don’t immediately connect hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-related hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most people may presume. It’s not a bad plan to keep an eye out for these symptoms. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-associated hearing loss is harmless and insignificant. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and could call for immediate medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, it could be, depending on how quickly you address it and what the root cause is.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t show up on a lot of sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. This means that, generally, individuals may be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond simply turning the volume up on your devices, after all. Here are some of the most common:
- You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing problem with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear isn’t functioning correctly, you might have issues with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most apparent. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs suddenly and can be more obvious. Any type of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as you can. You may need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently associated with 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 called “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your care team about what you’re feeling.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
These aren’t universal symptoms. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss. In any event, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s typically a good idea to talk to your doctor. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious issue.
What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? In some cases, maybe. 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? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most common include:
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is doing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. As a result, all kinds of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- 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 sometimes be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. And this is, to some extent, why it’s really important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe ailments. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be monitored.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition called otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear start growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. Pregnancy induces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this kind of bone growth. It should be noted that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it impacts hearing, is continuing.
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any type of blockage in your ear (like earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well understood. Routinely talking to your doctor and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How is this form of hearing loss treated?
The underlying cause of this form of hearing loss will generally dictate the course of treatment. The question that many individuals have is: will my hearing return to normal? Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should return to normal, or possibly even sooner.
However, this is not always the default, so it’s important to be aggressive when you notice symptoms. You may require additional treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for instance. The results will also depend on how fast you get treatment when it comes to abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
That’s why it’s so essential to be certain that you report these symptoms to your doctor. 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 dangerous possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s essential to make sure you pay attention to 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 assessment with us right away.