Sure, pregnancy is awesome and incredible. 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 challenges, and all kinds of strange side effects. None of this detracts from the delight of being a parent… but it’s a whole process to get there.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of drawbacks.
Pregnancy isn’t typically the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. So it might be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather prevalent. 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. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could require swift medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, it could be, depending on how fast you address it and what the root cause is.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
You generally won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. People usually don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it may be beneficial to know what to look out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than cranking the volume up on your television. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get regularly.
- You feel plugged in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss might sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can impact the inner ear (or, in some instances, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear is not working correctly, you may have problems with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. And that also goes for pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is frequently associated with pregnancy-induced hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some cases, 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.
- Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is probably the most evident sign of hearing loss. But if it happens all of a sudden, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any form of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as you can. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may require emergency treatment.
None of these symptoms are fundamentally 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 contact your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious issue.
What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Sometimes, possibly. But being pregnant might also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to impact your hearing.
So, what are the potential causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most prevalent include:
- 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: When you’re pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, to some extent, why it’s very important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be tracked.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your child, can both be affected in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant person.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is doing an extraordinary amount of work when you get pregnant. 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 a condition called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too quickly. In pregnant individuals, 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 impacts hearing, is continuing.
In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well comprehended. Regularly talking to your physician and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.
How do you treat this type of hearing loss?
Treatment of this type of hearing loss will likely depend on the underlying cause. The question that most individuals have is: will my hearing loss clear up? In most instances, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once your pregnancy is over, or possibly even before.
However, this isn’t always the situation, so it’s important to be aggressive when you detect symptoms. For example, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. Similarly, if you experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how rapidly you receive treatment.
That’s why it’s so essential to be sure you report these symptoms to your provider. You might then undergo a comprehensive hearing screening or assessment to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Safeguarding your hearing is something you should pay attention to especially when you’re pregnant. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing test with us as soon as possible.