It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a child. But it can also be sort 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. None of this detracts from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now there’s another potential small disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most people don’t immediately connect hearing loss with pregnancy. So it might be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather common. It’s not a bad plan to watch out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you should be concerned about in most cases. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could require swift medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, the answer sort of depends on the underlying cause, and how quickly you address it.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss symptoms
You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. This means that, generally speaking, individuals 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 just cranking up the volume on your devices, after all. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- A feeling of fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-related hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some situations, whatever is impacting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have an issue with your inner ear. And that also applies to pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is likely the most evident sign of hearing loss. But if it occurs all of a sudden, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You should report any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your provider as soon as you can. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may require emergency treatment.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is often linked to pregnancy-induced hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some cases, sound like your own heartbeat which is known as “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your doctor about what you’re feeling.
These aren’t universal symptoms. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss. In any event, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s usually a good plan to talk to your doctor. That’s because these symptoms can in some cases be an indication of some rare but larger issues.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Well, possibly, sometimes. But being pregnant may also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to impact your hearing.
So, what are the potential causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most prevalent include:
- High blood pressure: While you are pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. So telling your physician 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 tracked carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition known as otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear start growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. Pregnancy induces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this kind of bone growth. It should be noted that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it impacts hearing, is continuing.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you get pregnant, your body is doing an exceptional amount of work. As a result, all kinds of changes are afoot, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- 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. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
In some instances, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well understood. The essential thing will be to be mindful of your symptoms and be in frequent communication with your doctor.
How do you treat this kind of hearing loss?
The underlying cause of this form of hearing loss will largely dictate the course of treatment. The question that many individuals have is: will my hearing loss clear up? Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should return to normal, or possibly even sooner.
But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you notice because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. For example, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you could require additional treatment. Likewise, if you experience abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how fast you receive treatment.
That’s why it’s so essential to be certain that you report these symptoms to your doctor. The next step will probably be a comprehensive hearing evaluation to eliminate any more serious conditions and try to diagnose the underlying cause.
Protect your hearing
Safeguarding your hearing is something you should pay attention to 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 schedule a hearing assessment.