It’s an awesome and wonderful experience, having a baby. But it can also be sort of… unpleasant, at least sometimes, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health hazards, and all sorts 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 drawbacks.
Most individuals don’t instantly connect hearing loss with pregnancy. So it might be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is somewhat prevalent. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-related hearing loss is harmless and banal. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and might call for immediate medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, the answer sort of depends on the root cause, and how quickly you treat it.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. It’s not nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. This means that, generally, individuals may be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it may be beneficial to know what to look out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond cranking up the volume on your television. Here are some of the most common:
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear isn’t working properly, you might have problems with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. And that also goes for pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most evident. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” comes on abruptly and can be more noticeable. You should report any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your provider as soon as you can. You might need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently linked to tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some cases, 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.
- A plugged feeling in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
These aren’t universal symptoms. You will probably experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying 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 doctor. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be an indication of some rare but larger problems.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Sometimes, possibly. 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-induced hearing loss? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most prevalent 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 doctor about your hearing loss symptoms is really important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other serious ailments. These are problems that should be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- 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.
- 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 type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still working out just how much it affects hearing.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your child’s health. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
- Some of the typical things: If you get an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any type of obstruction in your ear (like earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
In some instances, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well understood. Routinely talking to your doctor and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How is this form of hearing loss treated?
The root cause of this kind of hearing loss will largely dictate the course of treatment. The question that most people have is: will my hearing loss clear up? Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should go back to normal, or maybe even sooner.
However, this is not always the situation, so it’s important to be proactive when you observe symptoms. For instance, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you could require additional treatment. The outcome will also depend on how fast you get treatment when it comes to abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
That’s why it’s so important to be sure you report these symptoms to your provider. The next step will most likely be a thorough hearing evaluation to rule out any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the underlying cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s important to be sure you pay attention to and protect your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing assessment with us as soon as possible.