It’s an awesome and wonderful experience, having a baby. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be rather unpleasant, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health hazards, and all sorts of weird side effects. None of this takes away from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now there’s another potential small drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.
Pregnancy isn’t normally the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-related hearing loss is actually more common than most individuals might presume. It’s not a bad plan to watch out for these symptoms. In some cases, the source of pregnancy-induced hearing loss is innocuous and insignificant. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and may call for immediate medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss clear up? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you treat it and what the root cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You generally won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. This means that, generally speaking, individuals may be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it may be useful to know what to look out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond cranking up the volume on your television. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Headaches and migraines: You may also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get regularly.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is often associated with pregnancy-induced hearing loss. In some cases, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). You should talk to your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most obvious. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” happens all of a sudden and can be more noticeable. Any type of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as you can. You may need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-related hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some situations, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear is not functioning correctly, you might have problems with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. And that also applies to pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
None of these symptoms are inevitably universal. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss. Either way, it’s a good plan to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms may be an indication of a more serious issue.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Does being pregnant affect hearing? Sometimes, maybe. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-induced hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most prevalent include:
- 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 impacts for the pregnant person.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. And this is, to some extent, why it’s very important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are issues that need to be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be obstructed by an ailment called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too quickly. In pregnant women, this quicker bone growth might be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and just how much it affects hearing, is continuing.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is doing an extraordinary amount of work when you become pregnant. As a result, all sorts of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any type of blockage in your ear (like earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss could be difficult to determine. Regularly talking to your physician and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How do you treat this form of hearing loss?
Treatment of this kind of hearing loss will likely depend on the root cause. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most prevalent question people will have. Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should go back 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 certain. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you could require additional treatment. The results will also depend on how fast you get treatment in the case of abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so essential. You may then undergo a comprehensive hearing screening or evaluation to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more dangerous possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Safeguarding your hearing is something you should pay attention to especially when you’re pregnant. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Schedule a hearing exam with us right away.