Sure, pregnancy is amazing and incredible. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be fairly uncomfortable, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health hazards, and all sorts of weird side effects. None of this takes away from the happiness 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.
Pregnancy isn’t normally 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 fairly common. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-related hearing loss is innocuous and insignificant. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and may require immediate medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, it could be, depending on how fast you treat it and what the underlying cause is.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on a lot of sitcoms or in 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 knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than simply cranking the volume up on your devices, after all. Here are a few of the most common:
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance problems if you have an issue with your inner ear. And that also goes for pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most evident. But if it happens suddenly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to report any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your physician as soon as you can. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you might require emergency treatment.
- Headaches and migraines: You may also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have on a regular basis.
- You feel plugged in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some circumstances, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your care team about what you’re feeling.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but not others. Either way, it’s a good plan to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious problem.
The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss
Does being pregnant impact hearing? Sometimes, possibly. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most prevalent include:
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be impacted in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant woman.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is performing an extraordinary amount of work when you get pregnant. As a consequence, all sorts of changes are happening, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction called otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear start growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. In pregnant individuals, this faster bone growth might be caused by alterations 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.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. And this is, in part, why it’s extremely important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. Serious ailments, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are problems that need to be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss could be hard to determine. Regularly talking to your doctor and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How is this form of hearing loss managed?
The underlying cause of this form 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. Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should go back to normal, or maybe even sooner.
But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you observe because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. For instance, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. The results will also depend on how rapidly you get treatment in the case of abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so important. The next step will most likely be a thorough hearing assessment to rule out any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the inherent cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s essential to be sure you watch out for and safeguard 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 as soon as possible.