It’s an amazing and incredible experience, having a baby. But it can also be kind of… uncomfortable, at least sometimes, and at least in terms of how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health challenges, 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 disadvantages.
Pregnancy isn’t usually the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-induced hearing loss is actually more common than most individuals may presume. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. Pregnancy-associated hearing loss isn’t something you should be worried about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and might require immediate medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, it could be, depending on how quickly you treat it and what the underlying cause is.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on many sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. This means that, generally, people may be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than simply turning up the volume on your devices, after all. The most common symptoms include the following:
- 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 talk to your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some cases, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have a problem with your inner ear. And that also applies to pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- A feeling of fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most apparent. But if it occurs all of a sudden, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any type of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as you can. You might need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.
None of these symptoms are inevitably universal. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss. In any case, if you experience hearing loss or any of the related symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s typically a good idea to talk to your provider. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious concern.
What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Does being pregnant affect hearing? Well, perhaps, sometimes. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.
So, what are the potential causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Here are some of the most common causes:
- High blood pressure: When you’re pregnant, high blood pressure can cause 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 issues should be tracked.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be affected in lots of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant person.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition known as otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this type of bone growth. It should be noted that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it affects hearing, is ongoing.
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of obstruction in your ear (such as earwax), this can trigger hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you become pregnant, your body is doing an exceptional amount of work. As a consequence, all kinds of changes are afoot, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well comprehended. Routinely consulting your doctor and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.
How is this form of hearing loss treated?
The root cause of this kind of hearing loss will generally determine the course of treatment. The question that many people have is: will my hearing loss clear up? In most instances, yes, your hearing will return to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or maybe even before.
But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you observe because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. You may require extra treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for example. The outcome will also depend on how quickly you get treatment in the case of sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
That’s why it’s so essential to be sure you report these symptoms to your provider. You might then go through a comprehensive hearing screening or assessment to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least eliminate 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 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 set up a hearing assessment.