It’s an amazing and incredible experience, having a baby. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be fairly uncomfortable, at least sometimes. There are all kinds of peculiar side effects, including morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. Getting there can be a bit of a process, but that doesn’t detract from the happiness of being a parent.
And now there’s another potential small disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most individuals don’t immediately associate hearing loss with pregnancy. So it might be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is fairly prevalent. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. In some cases, the source of pregnancy-associated hearing loss is innocuous and banal. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and could call for immediate medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss clear up? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you treat it and what the underlying cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t make an appearance on many sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. It’s not nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. People usually don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it may be beneficial 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:
- A feeling of fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss could sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- 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 called pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your doctor about what you’re feeling.
- Headaches and migraines: You may also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have regularly.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most apparent. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” happens abruptly and can be more obvious. Any type of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as you can. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you might need emergency treatment.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing problem with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance problems if you have an issue with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
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-related 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 idea to talk to your provider. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious issue.
What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Does being pregnant impact hearing? In some cases, maybe. But being pregnant might also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.
So, what are the potential causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most prevalent include:
- 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 fast. In pregnant individuals, this faster bone growth may be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still an ongoing 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 repercussions for your health and your child’s health. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant woman.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is performing an extraordinary amount of work when you become pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are experiencing lots of changes, as an outcome.
- High blood pressure: While you’re pregnant, high blood pressure can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. 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 issues that need to be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well comprehended. The important thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.
How is this form of hearing loss treated?
The root cause of this form of hearing loss will generally dictate the course of treatment. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most prevalent question individuals will have. Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should return to normal, or possibly even sooner.
However, this isn’t always the default, so it’s important to be proactive when you observe 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 outcome will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so important. The next step will probably be a comprehensive hearing evaluation to rule out any more serious 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 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. Schedule a hearing test with us as soon as possible.