It’s an awesome and wonderful experience, having a child. But it can also be kind of… uncomfortable, at least sometimes, and at least in terms of how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health hazards, and all kinds of strange side effects. Getting there can be somewhat of a process, but that doesn’t detract from the joy of being a parent.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of disadvantages.
Most people don’t instantly associate hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-induced hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most individuals may presume. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. Pregnancy-induced hearing loss isn’t something you need to be worried about in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could call for swift medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, the answer sort of depends on the underlying cause, and how rapidly you address it.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on many sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. It’s not nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. 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 just turning the volume up on your devices, after all. Here are a few of the most common:
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most apparent. But if it comes on all of a sudden, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to convey any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as possible. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you may require emergency treatment.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the source of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss might be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have a problem with your inner ear. And that also goes for pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is often linked to pregnancy-related hearing loss. In some cases, 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 doctor about what you’re feeling.
- You feel plugged in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have on a regular basis.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but not others. Either way, it’s a good plan to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious concern.
The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss
Does being pregnant impact hearing? Well, maybe, sometimes. But being pregnant might also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to impact your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-induced hearing loss possibly be caused? Here are some of the most common causes:
- Some of the typical things: If you develop 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.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. And this is, in part, why it’s extremely important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other serious conditions. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be tracked.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be impacted in lots of ways by an iron deficiency. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition called otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear start growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. In pregnant women, this quicker bone growth may be caused by changes in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out exactly how much it affects hearing.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you become pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. As a consequence, all kinds of changes are afoot, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
In some instances, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well understood. The important thing will be to be mindful of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.
How is this kind of hearing loss treated?
The underlying cause of this form of hearing loss will generally determine the course of treatment. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most common question people will have. In most cases, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or possibly even before.
However, this isn’t always the default, so it’s important to be proactive when you detect symptoms. For instance, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. The results will also depend on how rapidly you get treatment when it comes to sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so important. The next step will most likely be a complete 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 juggling so many other things, it’s essential to make sure you pay attention to and protect your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Give us a call today to schedule a hearing assessment.