Sure, pregnancy is awesome and fantastic. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be fairly unpleasant, at least sometimes. There are all sorts of weird side effects, like morning sickness, health hazards, 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 possible small disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Pregnancy isn’t normally the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. So it may be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is somewhat common. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you should be worried about in most cases. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could require swift medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, it could be, depending on how quickly you address it and what the underlying cause is.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss?
You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. It’s not nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. People usually don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. 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:
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most evident. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs suddenly and can be more obvious. Any form of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as possible. You might need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
- You feel plugged in your ears: Pregnancy-induced 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). You should consult your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear isn’t working properly, you might experience problems 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 on a regular basis.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but maybe not others. Either way, it’s a good plan to consult your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious issue.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Does being pregnant impact hearing? Well, possibly, sometimes. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then impact your hearing.
So, what are the potential causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Here are several of the most common causes:
- High blood pressure: While you are pregnant, high blood pressure can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. So telling your doctor about your hearing loss symptoms is really important. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can trigger high blood pressure. These are problems that need to be tracked carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition called otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear start growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. Pregnancy induces hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still working out just how much it impacts hearing.
- Some of the typical things: If you get an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of blockage in your ear (like earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you get pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as an outcome.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your child, 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.
In some instances, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well comprehended. Routinely talking to your doctor and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.
How do you manage this form of hearing loss?
Treatment of this form of hearing loss will likely depend on the root 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 return to normal, or maybe even sooner.
But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you detect because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. You might require additional treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for instance. Similarly, if you experience abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.
That’s why it’s so essential to be sure you report these symptoms to your doctor. The next step will most likely be a complete hearing evaluation to rule out any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the underlying cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s essential to make 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 test with us right away.