Of course, pregnancy is amazing and wonderful. 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 changes to your body, the health hazards, and all kinds of weird side effects. None of this detracts from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole process to get there.
And now there’s another potential small disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Pregnancy isn’t usually 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 somewhat common. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you need to be worried about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and may require immediate medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, the answer kind of depends on the underlying cause, and how fast you address it.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are much 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. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- A plugged feeling in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss may in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most obvious. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” comes on all of a sudden and can be more obvious. You should report any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your physician as soon as possible. You may need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.
- 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 consult your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have on a regular basis.
- 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 source of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss might be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have a problem with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
None of these symptoms are necessarily universal. You will probably experience some symptoms and not others depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss. 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. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be a sign of some rare but larger issues.
What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Does being pregnant impact hearing? Sometimes, maybe. But being pregnant might 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 vary… but some of the most prevalent include:
- High blood pressure: While you are pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. So telling your doctor about your hearing loss symptoms is really important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other serious conditions. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be monitored.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is performing an extraordinary amount of work when you get pregnant. As a consequence, all kinds of changes are happening, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of repercussions for your health and your child’s health. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant woman.
- Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be blocked by a condition called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. Pregnancy induces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this kind of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out exactly how much it affects hearing.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss may be hard to determine. The essential thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in frequent communication with your doctor.
How is this form of hearing loss treated?
Treatment of this kind of hearing loss will usually depend on the root cause. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most prevalent question individuals will have. Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should return to normal, or possibly even sooner.
But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you notice because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. You may need additional treatment if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, for example. Likewise, if you suffer from sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how rapidly you receive treatment.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your physician is so essential. You may then undergo a complete 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 important to be certain you pay attention to and protect your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing assessment with us as soon as possible.