It’s an amazing and incredible experience, having a child. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be fairly uncomfortable, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health challenges, and all sorts of weird side effects. Getting there can be somewhat 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 usually 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 common. It’s not a bad idea to keep an eye out for these symptoms. In some cases, the source of pregnancy-related hearing loss is harmless and banal. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and could require immediate medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, the answer sort of depends on the underlying cause, and how quickly you address it.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t make an appearance on a lot of sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. This means that, generally, people may be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond simply turning the volume up on your devices, after all. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-related hearing loss can impact the inner ear (or, in some situations, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Your hearing loss might be accompanied by dizziness and balance problems if you have a problem with your inner ear. And that also applies to 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 occurs abruptly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to report any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as you can. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you might require emergency treatment.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is frequently linked to pregnancy-related hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some circumstances, sound like your own heartbeat which is known as “pulsatile tinnitus”. You should talk to your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- You feel plugged in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss might sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
These aren’t universal symptoms. You will probably 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 generally a good plan to talk to your doctor. Because these symptoms may be an indication of a more serious problem.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? In some cases, maybe. But being pregnant may also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common include:
- Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be obstructed by a disorder called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. In pregnant individuals, this quicker bone growth might be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still an ongoing process, and scientists are still figuring out exactly how much it affects hearing.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you get pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. Your hormones and circulatory system are experiencing lots of changes, as a result.
- Some of the typical things: If you get an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of obstruction in your ear (such as earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your child, can both be impacted in lots of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant woman.
- High blood pressure: When you are pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is really important. Serious ailments, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are problems that need to be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss may be hard to identify. Routinely talking to your doctor and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How is this type of hearing loss managed?
The root cause of this type of hearing loss will largely dictate the course of treatment. The question that many people have is: will my hearing loss clear up? In most situations, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once your pregnancy is over, or possibly even before.
But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you detect because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. You may need additional treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for instance. Similarly, if you experience abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.
That’s why it’s so important to be certain that you report these symptoms to your doctor. The next step will most likely be a comprehensive hearing evaluation to eliminate any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the root cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s important to be sure you watch out for and protect your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing assessment with us as soon as possible.