Sure, pregnancy is amazing and fantastic. But it can also be sort of… unpleasant, at least at times, and at least in terms of how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health hazards, and all kinds of strange side effects. 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 drawbacks.
Most individuals don’t instantly connect hearing loss with pregnancy. So it might be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is somewhat prevalent. It’s not a bad idea to watch out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-induced hearing loss isn’t something you need to be worried about in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could call for swift medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you address it and what the underlying cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it might be helpful 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. Here are some of the most common:
- 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 is not working correctly, you may have problems with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
- A feeling of fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is frequently linked to pregnancy-related hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some cases, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your doctor about what you’re feeling.
- Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is probably the most obvious indication of hearing loss. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs abruptly and can be more obvious. You need to report any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your physician as soon as possible. You may need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
- Headaches and migraines: You may also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but maybe not others. Either way, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can in some cases be an indication of some rare but larger issues.
The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss
Does being pregnant impact hearing? Well, perhaps, sometimes. But being pregnant may also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-induced hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most common include:
- High blood pressure: When you’re pregnant, high blood pressure can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, to some extent, why it’s really important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can trigger high blood pressure. These are problems that should be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is performing an extraordinary amount of work when you become pregnant. As a consequence, all sorts of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction known as otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. In pregnant women, this faster bone growth might be caused by changes in your hormones or other changes in your body. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it affects hearing, is ongoing.
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of blockage 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 impacts for the pregnant woman.
In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well comprehended. Regularly consulting your physician and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.
How do you manage this kind of hearing loss?
The root cause of this form of hearing loss will generally dictate the course of treatment. The question that most individuals have is: will my hearing return to normal? In most cases, yes, your hearing will return to normal once your pregnancy is over, or possibly even before.
However, this is not always the situation, so it’s important to be aggressive when you observe symptoms. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. The results will also depend on how rapidly you get treatment when it comes to sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your physician is so essential. You might then undergo a comprehensive hearing screening or evaluation to help figure out your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Protecting your hearing is something you should pay attention to especially when you’re pregnant. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Give us a call today to schedule a hearing evaluation.