Of course, pregnancy is amazing and incredible. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be pretty unpleasant, at least sometimes. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health challenges, and all kinds of weird side effects. None of this takes away from the joy of being a parent… but it’s a whole process to get there.
And now there’s another potential small drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.
Pregnancy isn’t typically the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-induced hearing loss is actually more common than most people may presume. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. Pregnancy-associated hearing loss isn’t something you need to be concerned about in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could call for swift medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you address it and what the root cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. This means that, generally, individuals might be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it may be beneficial to know what to look out for.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than just turning the volume up on your devices, after all. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is frequently associated with pregnancy-related hearing loss. In some circumstances, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is called pulsatile tinnitus). You should speak with your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-related 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 might be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have an issue with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
- Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is likely the most evident sign of hearing loss. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” happens all of a sudden and can be more noticeable. Any form of sudden 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 might need emergency treatment.
- You feel plugged in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
None of these symptoms are necessarily universal. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss. Either way, it’s a good plan to consult your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be a sign of some rare but larger problems.
What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Well, maybe, in some cases. But being pregnant may also affect 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 vary… but some of the most prevalent include:
- 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 women, this quicker bone growth might be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it affects hearing, is ongoing.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result 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 serious conditions. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be tracked.
- Some of the typical things: If you get an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any type of obstruction in your ear (like earwax), this can trigger hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your baby’s health. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you get pregnant, your body is doing an exceptional amount of work. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as a result.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss may be difficult to identify. Routinely talking to your physician and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.
How do you manage this form of hearing loss?
Treatment of this kind 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 go back to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or maybe even before.
But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you observe because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. For instance, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you could require additional treatment. Similarly, if you experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how fast you receive treatment.
That’s why it’s so essential to be certain that you report these symptoms to your doctor. 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 severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s important to be sure you watch out for and protect your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Give us a call today to set up a hearing evaluation.