It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a baby. But it can also be sort of… uncomfortable, at least at times, and at least when it involves 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 a bit of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the happiness of being a parent.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of disadvantages.
Pregnancy isn’t typically the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. So it might be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather prevalent. 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 issue and could call for immediate medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you treat it and what the underlying cause is.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on a lot of sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. It’s not nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. This means that, generally, people might be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than simply cranking the volume up on your devices, after all. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Headaches and migraines: You might also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some cases, whatever is impacting 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. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
- A plugged feeling in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss might sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most obvious. But if it occurs suddenly, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any type of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as possible. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may need emergency treatment.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some situations, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). You should speak with your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
None of these symptoms are fundamentally 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 associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s typically a good idea to talk to your provider. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be an indication of some rare but larger problems.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Well, maybe, in some cases. But other parts of your body are impacted by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-induced hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common include:
- 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.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- 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. In pregnant women, this faster bone growth might be caused by changes in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out just how much it affects hearing.
- 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. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant person.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. And this is, in part, why it’s very important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be tracked.
In some instances, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well comprehended. Routinely talking to your doctor and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.
How do you manage this type of hearing loss?
The root cause of this kind of hearing loss will largely dictate the course of treatment. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most prevalent question individuals will have. In most instances, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once your pregnancy is over, or possibly even before.
However, this isn’t always the situation, so it’s important to be proactive when you notice symptoms. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you could require additional treatment. The results will also depend on how quickly you get treatment in the case of sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you report these symptoms to your doctor. The next step will most likely be a comprehensive hearing assessment to eliminate any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the root cause.
Protect your hearing
Protecting your hearing is something you should watch out for particularly when you’re pregnant. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Give us a call today to set up a hearing assessment.