It’s an amazing and incredible experience, having a child. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be rather uncomfortable, at least sometimes. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health hazards, and all kinds of weird side effects. 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 drawbacks.
Most people don’t immediately associate hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-induced hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most individuals may think. It’s not a bad idea to watch out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-induced hearing loss isn’t something you need to be worried about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and might require immediate medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, the answer kind of depends on the root cause, and how fast you treat it.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t make an appearance on a lot of sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond simply cranking up the volume on your devices, after all. Here are some of the most common:
- 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”. You should speak with your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is probably the most evident sign of hearing loss. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” comes on all of a sudden and can be more obvious. You should report any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your provider as soon as possible. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you may need emergency treatment.
- Headaches and migraines: You may also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
- A feeling of fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can impact the inner ear (or, in some cases, whatever is impacting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance problems if you have a problem with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced 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 typically a good idea to talk to your provider. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious issue.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? In some cases, possibly. But being pregnant may also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.
So, what are the possible causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common include:
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your child, can both be impacted in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you get pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. Your hormones and circulatory system are experiencing lots of changes, as an outcome.
- Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be obstructed by an ailment called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. In pregnant women, this quicker bone growth may be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. It should be noted 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. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is really important. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are problems that should be watched carefully throughout your pregnancy.
In some instances, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well understood. Regularly talking to your physician and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.
How do you manage this kind of hearing loss?
The underlying cause of this form of hearing loss will generally determine the course of treatment. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most prevalent question individuals will have. Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should go back to normal, or possibly even sooner.
But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you detect because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. For instance, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. Likewise, if you experience abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how fast you receive treatment.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so important. The next step will probably be a complete hearing assessment to eliminate any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the inherent cause.
Protect your hearing
Protecting your hearing is something you should watch out for particularly when you’re pregnant. One of the best ways to do that is to remain in touch with us and with your care team. Schedule a hearing examination with us right away.