It’s an awesome and wonderful experience, having a child. But it can also be kind of… unpleasant, at least sometimes, 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 weird side effects. Getting there can be somewhat of a process, but that doesn’t detract from the happiness of being a parent.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of drawbacks.
Most people don’t immediately connect hearing loss with pregnancy. So it might be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is fairly prevalent. It’s not a bad plan to keep an eye out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-induced hearing loss isn’t something you need to be concerned about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and might call for immediate medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, it could be, depending on how quickly you treat it and what the underlying cause is.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss?
You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. It’s not nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. People generally 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 just cranking up the volume on your devices, after all. The most common symptoms include the following:
- 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 problem with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear is not working correctly, you might experience issues with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t an exception.
- You feel plugged in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most obvious. But if it happens abruptly, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to convey any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your physician as soon as you can. You might require emergency treatment to prevent the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is often linked to pregnancy-related hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some circumstances, sound like your own heartbeat which is known as “pulsatile tinnitus”. You should consult your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but not others. Either way, it’s a good idea to contact your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious issue.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Well, maybe, sometimes. 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-related hearing loss? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common include:
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can trigger high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be tracked.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of repercussions for your health and your baby’s health. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you get pregnant, your body is doing an exceptional amount of work. As a consequence, all kinds of changes are happening, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction known as otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. Pregnancy produces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still working out just how much it affects hearing.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss could be difficult to identify. The important thing will be to be mindful of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your provider.
How is this kind of hearing loss managed?
Treatment of this type of hearing loss will likely depend on the root cause. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most prevalent question individuals will have. Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should return to normal, or maybe even sooner.
But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you notice because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. You might need additional treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for example. Likewise, if you experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your physician is so essential. The next step will probably be a complete hearing assessment to rule out any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the inherent cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s essential to be certain 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. Schedule a hearing examination with us as soon as possible.