Sure, pregnancy is amazing and wonderful. But it can also be kind of… unpleasant, at least at times, and at least in terms of how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health challenges, and all kinds of strange side effects. None of this takes away from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now there’s another potential small drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.
Pregnancy isn’t usually the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-related hearing loss is actually more common than most people may think. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. In some cases, the source of pregnancy-related hearing loss is harmless and banal. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could call for swift medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? 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 make an appearance on many sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. This means that, generally speaking, people may be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it may be useful to know what to look out for.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than simply turning up the volume on your devices, after all. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most obvious. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs all of a sudden and can be more noticeable. Any type of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as possible. You might require emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
- A plugged feeling in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss could in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is often associated with pregnancy-related hearing loss. In some situations, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). You should talk to your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some instances, whatever is impacting the inner ear is also causing 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 isn’t an exception.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have on a regular basis.
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. In any event, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s usually a good plan to talk to your doctor. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious problem.
The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Well, perhaps, in some cases. 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 potential causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most common include:
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
- 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. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still working out just how much it affects hearing.
- 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 provider about your hearing loss. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are issues that need to be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you become pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as a result.
- 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. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss may be hard to identify. The essential thing will be to be mindful of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your provider.
How do you manage this type of hearing loss?
Treatment of this type of hearing loss will usually depend on the underlying cause. The question that most people have is: will my hearing return to normal? 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. You may require extra treatment if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, for instance. Likewise, if you experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how rapidly you receive treatment.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you report these symptoms to your provider. You may then undergo a comprehensive hearing screening or evaluation to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Safeguarding your hearing is something you need to pay attention to especially when you’re pregnant. 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 evaluation.