Sure, pregnancy is amazing and fantastic. But it can also be sort of… unpleasant, at least at times, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. There are all sorts of weird side effects, including morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. Getting there can be a bit of a process, but that doesn’t detract from the happiness of being a parent.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of drawbacks.
Most people don’t instantly associate hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-associated hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most people may think. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-induced hearing loss is harmless and insignificant. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and might call for immediate medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, the answer kind of depends on the root cause, and how quickly you treat it.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t make an appearance on many sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. This means that, generally, individuals might be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it might be beneficial to know what to look out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than cranking up the volume on your television. Here are a few of the most common:
- A plugged feeling in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some cases, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have a problem with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t an exception.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is frequently associated with pregnancy-related hearing loss. In some circumstances, this tinnitus might 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 consulting your care team about what you’re feeling.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
- Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is likely the most apparent indication of hearing loss. But if it occurs all of a sudden, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any form of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as possible. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may need emergency treatment.
None of these symptoms are inevitably universal. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but not others. Either way, it’s a good idea to consult 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-induced hearing loss
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Sometimes, maybe. 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 possible causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Here are several of the most common causes:
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition called otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. In pregnant individuals, this quicker bone growth might be caused by changes in your hormones or other changes in your body. It should be noted that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and just how much it affects hearing, is ongoing.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is performing an extraordinary amount of work when you get pregnant. 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 affected in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant woman.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. So telling your doctor about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe ailments. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be tracked.
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any type of obstruction in your ear (such as earwax), this can trigger hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well comprehended. The essential thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.
How is this form of hearing loss managed?
Treatment of this kind of hearing loss will usually depend on the underlying cause. The question that many individuals have is: will my hearing return to normal? In most cases, yes, your hearing will return to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or possibly even before.
But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you notice because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. You might require additional treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for instance. The results will also depend on how fast you get treatment when it comes to sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so important. You may then undergo a complete hearing screening or assessment to help figure out your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s essential to be sure you watch out for and safeguard your hearing. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Schedule a hearing examination with us as soon as possible.