Sure, pregnancy is awesome and incredible. But it can also be kind of… unpleasant, at least sometimes, and at least in terms of how it can make you feel. There are all kinds of weird side effects, like morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. Getting there can be a bit of a process, but that doesn’t detract from the joy of being a parent.
And now there’s another potential little disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Pregnancy isn’t normally the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-related hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most individuals might presume. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. Pregnancy-induced hearing loss isn’t something you should be concerned about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and may require immediate medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, the answer kind of depends on the root cause, and how quickly you address it.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t show up on a lot of sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. People usually don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond simply turning up the volume on your devices, after all. Here are some of the most common:
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is often associated with 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”. Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your doctor about what you’re feeling.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-related hearing loss can impact the inner ear (or, in some cases, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Your hearing loss might be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have an issue with your inner ear. And that also applies to pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- 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.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
- Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is probably the most obvious sign of hearing loss. But a condition called “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. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may require emergency treatment.
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. Either way, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can in some cases be an indication of some rare but larger issues.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Does being pregnant impact hearing? Well, possibly, in some cases. But being pregnant may also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Here are several of the most prevalent causes:
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you get pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. As a consequence, all sorts of changes are happening, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
- 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 quickly. Pregnancy induces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this kind of bone growth. It should be noted that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and just how much it impacts hearing, is continuing.
- High blood pressure: When you’re pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is really important. Serious ailments, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be monitored.
- 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. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
- Some of the typical things: If you get an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of blockage in your ear (like earwax), this can trigger hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss may be difficult to determine. The essential thing will be to keep track of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your provider.
How is this kind of hearing loss treated?
Treatment of this type of hearing loss will likely depend on the underlying cause. The question that most people have is: will my hearing return to normal? Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should return to normal, or maybe even sooner.
However, this isn’t always the default, so it’s important to be aggressive when you detect symptoms. You might require extra treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for example. The outcome will also depend on how quickly you get treatment when it comes to abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so essential. You may then undergo a complete 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 essential to make sure you pay attention to and safeguard your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing assessment with us right away.