It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a child. But it can also be sort of… uncomfortable, at least sometimes, 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 sorts of strange 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 drawbacks.
Pregnancy isn’t normally 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 somewhat prevalent. It’s not a bad idea to watch out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you need to be concerned about in most cases. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could call for swift medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, the answer sort of depends on the root cause, and how quickly you treat it.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss?
You generally won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. This means that, generally, individuals may be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond cranking the volume up on your television. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some situations, whatever is impacting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear is not working correctly, you may experience issues with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. And that also applies to pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have regularly.
- A feeling of fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is often associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some circumstances, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your care team about what you’re feeling.
- Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is likely the most evident sign of hearing loss. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” happens abruptly and can be more noticeable. You need to convey any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as you can. You might need emergency treatment to prevent the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but maybe not others. In any case, if you experience hearing loss or any of the related symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s typically a good idea to talk to your provider. Because these symptoms may be an indication of a more serious problem.
What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Well, possibly, in some cases. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Here are several of the most common causes:
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your child’s health. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant woman.
- Some of the typical things: If you get 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.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is doing an extraordinary amount of work when you become pregnant. As a result, all sorts of changes are happening, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction called otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. In pregnant individuals, this quicker bone growth may be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still working out exactly how much it affects hearing.
- High blood pressure: While you are pregnant, high blood pressure can cause 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 severe conditions. These are issues that should be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss may be hard to determine. The essential thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.
How do you manage this type 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 people will have. In most situations, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or maybe even before.
However, this is not always the situation, so it’s essential to be aggressive when you detect symptoms. You might need extra treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for instance. Likewise, if you experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how fast you receive treatment.
That’s why it’s so essential to be sure you report these symptoms to your doctor. You might then undergo a complete hearing screening or assessment to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Safeguarding your hearing is something you should watch out for particularly when you’re pregnant. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Schedule a hearing assessment with us as soon as possible.