It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a child. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be fairly unpleasant, at least sometimes. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health hazards, and all kinds of strange side effects. Getting there can be a bit of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the joy of being a parent.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of disadvantages.
Pregnancy isn’t normally the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. So it may be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is fairly prevalent. It’s not a bad plan to watch out for these symptoms. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-induced hearing loss is innocuous and banal. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could call for swift medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, it could be, depending on how quickly you treat it and what the root cause is.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. People usually don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it might be helpful to know what to watch out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than turning the volume up on your television. Here are some of the most common:
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear isn’t working correctly, you may experience problems with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. And that also goes for pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most obvious. But if it comes on suddenly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to report any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as possible. You might require emergency treatment to prevent the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is often associated with pregnancy-induced hearing loss. In some circumstances, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your care team about what you’re feeling.
- You feel plugged in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
None of these symptoms are inevitably universal. You will probably experience some symptoms and not others depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss. In any event, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s generally a good idea to talk to your provider. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be a sign of some rare but larger problems.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Does being pregnant affect hearing? Well, maybe, sometimes. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then impact your hearing.
So, what are the likely causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Here are some of the most common causes:
- 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 impacts for the pregnant person.
- 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 quickly. 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 continuing.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. And this is, to some extent, why it’s very important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. Serious ailments, including preeclampsia, can trigger high blood pressure. These are issues that should be tracked carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you become pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. Your hormones and circulatory system are experiencing lots of changes, as a result.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss could be difficult to determine. Regularly consulting your physician and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.
How is this kind of hearing loss managed?
Treatment of this form of hearing loss will likely depend on the underlying cause. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most common question people will have. Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should go back to normal, or maybe even sooner.
However, this isn’t always the default, so it’s important to be proactive when you detect symptoms. You may need additional treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for example. Similarly, if you experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how rapidly 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 important to be certain you pay attention to and safeguard your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Give us a call today to set up a hearing evaluation.