Of course, pregnancy is awesome and fantastic. But it can also be kind of… unpleasant, at least at times, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health hazards, and all kinds of weird side effects. Getting there can be somewhat of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the happiness of being a parent.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of drawbacks.
Pregnancy isn’t typically the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-induced hearing loss is actually more common than most people might presume. It’s not a bad plan to watch out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-induced hearing loss isn’t something you should be worried about in most cases. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could call for swift medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss clear up? Well, the answer kind of depends on the root cause, and how rapidly you address it.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss symptoms
You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. This means that, generally speaking, people may be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond turning the volume up on your television. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Headaches and migraines: You might also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get regularly.
- You feel a fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss could in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most obvious. But if it happens suddenly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any form of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as you can. You may require emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the source of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear is not functioning correctly, you may have problems with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t an exception.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some circumstances, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “pulsatile tinnitus”. You should consult your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but not others. Either way, it’s a good plan to consult your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can in some cases be a sign of some rare but bigger problems.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Well, maybe, sometimes. But being pregnant may also impact 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 prevalent causes:
- High blood pressure: While you are pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger 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. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be monitored.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction called otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear start growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. In pregnant individuals, this quicker bone growth might be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out just how much it impacts hearing.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you become pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. As a result, all kinds of changes are happening, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your baby’s health. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant woman.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss simply 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 provider.
How is this kind of hearing loss treated?
The root cause of this form of hearing loss will largely determine the course of treatment. The question that most people have is: will my hearing loss clear up? Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should return to normal, or possibly even sooner.
However, this isn’t always the situation, so it’s essential to be proactive when you observe symptoms. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. The outcome will also depend on how quickly you get treatment when it comes to abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so important. You might then go through a complete hearing screening or assessment to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least eliminate 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. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing exam with us right away.