Of course, pregnancy is awesome and wonderful. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be rather unpleasant, at least sometimes. There are all sorts of weird side effects, including morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. None of this detracts from the delight of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of disadvantages.
Most people don’t immediately associate hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-associated hearing loss is actually more common than most people may presume. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-associated hearing loss is harmless and insignificant. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could call for swift medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, it could be, depending on how quickly you treat it and what the root cause is.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. This means that, generally, people 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 cranking up the volume on your devices, after all. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Headaches and migraines: You may also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have regularly.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some cases, this tinnitus might even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is called pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your care team about what you’re feeling.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear isn’t functioning correctly, you may have issues with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. And that also goes for pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is likely the most evident sign of hearing loss. But if it happens abruptly, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to convey any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as possible. You may require emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.
- You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
These aren’t universal symptoms. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss. 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 concern.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? In some cases, maybe. But other parts of your body are impacted by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then impact your hearing.
So, what are the potential causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Here are some of the most prevalent causes:
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition known as otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear start growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. Pregnancy induces hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this kind of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still an ongoing process, and scientists are still figuring out just how much it affects hearing.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. 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 tracked.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you become pregnant, your body is doing an exceptional amount of work. As a consequence, all kinds of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of repercussions for your health and your child’s health. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss could be hard to identify. The important thing will be to keep track of your symptoms and be in frequent communication with your provider.
How do you manage this form of hearing loss?
The underlying cause of this type of hearing loss will generally dictate the course of treatment. The question that most individuals have is: will my hearing return to normal? Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should go back to normal, or possibly even sooner.
However, this is not always the situation, so it’s essential to be aggressive when you notice symptoms. You may require additional treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for example. Likewise, if you experience abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so essential. You may then undergo a complete hearing screening or evaluation to help figure out your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more dangerous possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s important to be certain you watch out for and protect your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing exam with us as soon as possible.