Sure, pregnancy is awesome and incredible. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be rather uncomfortable, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health challenges, and all sorts of strange side effects. 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 drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most people don’t immediately associate hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-associated hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most individuals might think. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you need to be worried about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and could require immediate medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you address it and what the underlying cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on a lot of sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. This means that, generally, individuals might be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it may be beneficial to know what to watch out for.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than just cranking the volume up on your devices, after all. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- A plugged feeling in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss may sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is frequently linked to pregnancy-induced 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 on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your doctor about what you’re feeling.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most apparent. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” comes on abruptly and can be more apparent. Any type of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as possible. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you may need emergency treatment.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some instances, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear is not working correctly, you might experience problems with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but not others. Either way, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious problem.
The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Well, maybe, sometimes. But other parts of your body are impacted by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.
So, what are the likely causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most prevalent include:
- High blood pressure: While you are pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, to some extent, why it’s extremely important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be monitored.
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of blockage in your ear (such as earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition known as otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear start growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. In pregnant women, this quicker bone growth might be caused by changes in your hormones or other changes in your body. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it impacts hearing, is ongoing.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your child, can both be affected in lots of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant person.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you get pregnant, your body is doing an exceptional amount of work. As a consequence, all sorts of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss could be hard to determine. The important thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in regular communication with your provider.
How is this type of hearing loss managed?
Treatment of this kind of hearing loss will likely depend on the underlying cause. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most common question individuals will have. Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should return to normal, or maybe even sooner.
However, this is not always the situation, so it’s essential to be aggressive when you observe symptoms. For instance, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. The outcome will also depend on how quickly you get treatment in the case of abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
That’s why it’s so essential to make sure you report these symptoms to your provider. You may then go through a comprehensive hearing screening or evaluation to help figure out your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more dangerous possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Protecting your hearing is something you should pay attention to particularly when you’re pregnant. One of the best ways to do that is to remain in touch with us and with your care team. Schedule a hearing examination with us right away.