It’s an awesome and wonderful experience, having a child. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be rather unpleasant, at least sometimes. There are all sorts of strange side effects, including morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. None of this takes away from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of drawbacks.
Most people don’t immediately associate hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-induced hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most individuals might think. It’s not a bad idea to keep an eye out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-induced hearing loss isn’t something you should be concerned about in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could call for swift medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, the answer kind of depends on the underlying cause, and how rapidly you treat it.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. This means that, generally speaking, individuals may be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it may be helpful to know what to watch out for.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond simply turning up the volume on your devices, after all. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most obvious. But if it occurs suddenly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to convey any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your provider as soon as possible. You might require emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.
- Headaches and migraines: You may also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
- You feel plugged in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss could in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear is not functioning correctly, you may experience problems with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. And that also applies to pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is often associated with pregnancy-induced hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some instances, sound like your own heartbeat which is known as “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your care team about what you’re feeling.
These aren’t universal symptoms. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss. In any event, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s usually a good plan to talk to your doctor. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious problem.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Well, maybe, sometimes. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then impact your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-induced hearing loss possibly be caused? Here are some of the most common causes:
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of repercussions for your health and your baby’s health. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
- Some of the typical things: If you develop 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.
- High blood pressure: When you are pregnant, high blood pressure can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, in part, why it’s really important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other serious conditions. These are problems that should be tracked carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- 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.
- 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. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still an ongoing process, and scientists are still working out exactly how much it impacts hearing.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss may be difficult to identify. The essential thing will be to keep track of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.
How do you treat this type of hearing loss?
Treatment of this type of hearing loss will usually depend on the root cause. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most prevalent question people will have. Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should return to normal, or maybe even sooner.
But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you detect because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. You might need additional treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for instance. The outcome will also depend on how fast you get treatment in the case of sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so essential. The next step will probably be a comprehensive hearing evaluation to eliminate any more serious conditions and try to diagnose the inherent cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s essential to be sure you watch out for and safeguard 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.