It’s an amazing and incredible experience, having a baby. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be fairly unpleasant, at least sometimes. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health challenges, and all kinds of weird side effects. Getting there can be a bit of a process, but that doesn’t detract from the joy of being a parent.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of disadvantages.
Most individuals don’t instantly associate hearing loss with pregnancy. So it might be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is fairly common. It’s not a bad plan to keep an eye out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-induced hearing loss isn’t something you should be concerned about in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could require swift medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you treat it and what the root cause is.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on a lot of sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. People usually 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 turning the volume up on your devices, after all. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is likely the most apparent sign of hearing loss. But if it happens abruptly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any type of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as possible. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you might need emergency treatment.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some situations, this tinnitus might even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your doctor about what you’re feeling.
- You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the source of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have an issue with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
These aren’t universal symptoms. 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 talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious concern.
The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? In some cases, possibly. But other parts of your body are impacted by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then impact your hearing.
So, what are the likely causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Here are some of the most prevalent causes:
- 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 quickly. In pregnant women, this faster bone growth may be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out just how much it impacts hearing.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is performing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are experiencing lots of changes, as an outcome.
- 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 doctor about your hearing loss. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are problems that should be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
- 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. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant woman.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss may be hard to identify. The essential thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.
How do you manage this type of hearing loss?
The root 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. In most instances, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once your pregnancy is over, or maybe even before.
However, this isn’t always the default, so it’s essential to be proactive when you observe symptoms. For example, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. The results will also depend on how fast 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 probably be a comprehensive hearing evaluation to rule out any more serious conditions and try to diagnose the underlying cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s important to make sure you pay attention to and protect your hearing. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Give us a call today to schedule a hearing assessment.