It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a child. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be rather unpleasant, at least in some cases. There are all kinds of weird side effects, including morning sickness, health challenges, and changes to your body. Getting there can be somewhat of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the joy of being a parent.
And now there’s another potential small disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most people don’t instantly connect hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-related hearing loss is actually more common than most people might think. It’s not a bad idea to keep an eye out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you need to be worried about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and could require immediate medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you treat it and what the root cause is.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t show up on a lot of sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond turning up the volume on your television. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently 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 known as “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your care team about what you’re feeling.
- You feel a fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss may in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing problem with the inner ear can be the source of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear is not functioning properly, you may experience problems with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most apparent. But if it comes on all of a sudden, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to report any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as possible. You may need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but maybe not others. In any event, if you experience hearing loss or any of the related symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s generally a good idea to talk to your provider. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious concern.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Does being pregnant impact hearing? Sometimes, possibly. But other parts of your body are impacted by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.
So, what are the potential causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Here are some of the most common causes:
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of obstruction in your ear (like earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be impacted in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant person.
- Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be blocked by a disorder called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. Pregnancy produces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this type of bone growth. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it impacts hearing, is ongoing.
- 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 extremely important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe conditions. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be tracked.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is performing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. As a result, all sorts of changes are afoot, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
In some instances, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well comprehended. Routinely consulting your physician and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How do you treat this form of hearing loss?
Treatment of this kind of hearing loss will usually depend on the underlying cause. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most prevalent question individuals will have. Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should go back to normal, or possibly even sooner.
But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you detect because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. For instance, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. The outcome will also depend on how quickly you get treatment when it comes to sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so essential. The next step will probably be a complete hearing assessment to rule out any more serious conditions and try to diagnose the inherent cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s important to make sure you watch out for and safeguard your hearing. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Give us a call today to schedule a hearing assessment.