It’s an awesome and incredible experience, having a child. But it can also be sort of… uncomfortable, at least sometimes, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health challenges, and all sorts of weird side effects. None of this detracts from the delight of being a parent… but it’s a whole process to get there.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of drawbacks.
Most individuals don’t immediately associate hearing loss with pregnancy. So it might be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is fairly prevalent. It’s not a bad plan to watch out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-associated hearing loss isn’t something you need to be concerned about in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could require swift medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, the answer sort 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. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it may be useful to know what to watch out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than cranking up the volume on your television. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most obvious. But if it occurs all of a sudden, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to report any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your provider as soon as possible. You may need emergency treatment to prevent the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is frequently linked to pregnancy-related hearing loss. In some cases, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is called pulsatile tinnitus). You should consult your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- A plugged feeling in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss could in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
- 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. Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance problems if you have a problem with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
None of these symptoms are inevitably universal. You will probably experience some symptoms and not others depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related 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 issue.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Does being pregnant affect hearing? In some cases, maybe. But being pregnant may also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.
So, what are the potential causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Here are some of the most common causes:
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of obstruction in your ear (such as earwax), this can trigger hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your child’s health. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant person.
- 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 kind of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out exactly 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 physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe ailments. These are problems that should be tracked carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is performing an extraordinary amount of work when you get pregnant. As a result, all kinds of changes are afoot, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well comprehended. Regularly consulting your physician and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How do you manage this form of hearing loss?
The underlying cause of this kind of hearing loss will generally dictate the course of treatment. The question that many people have is: will my hearing return to normal? Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should go back to normal, or possibly even sooner.
However, this is not always the situation, so it’s essential to be proactive when you notice symptoms. You may need extra treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for example. The outcome will also depend on how fast you get treatment when it comes to abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your physician is so essential. The next step will most likely 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 juggling so many other things, it’s essential to make sure you pay attention to and protect your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing examination with us as soon as possible.