It’s an amazing and incredible experience, having a baby. But it can also be kind of… unpleasant, at least at times, and at least in terms of how it can make you feel. There are all sorts of strange side effects, like morning sickness, health challenges, 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 there’s another possible small drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.
Pregnancy isn’t normally the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. So it may be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather common. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you should be concerned about in most cases. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could call for swift medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, the answer sort of depends on the root cause, and how quickly you address it.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss symptoms
You generally won’t hear about pregnancy-induced 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 beneficial to know what to watch out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than turning up the volume on your television. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is frequently 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.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have regularly.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most evident. But if it happens abruptly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any form of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as you can. You may require emergency treatment to prevent the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
- You feel plugged in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss may in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the source of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance problems if you have an issue with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
These aren’t universal symptoms. You will probably experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss. Either way, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms may be an indication of a more serious concern.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Sometimes, maybe. But being pregnant might also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Here are several of the most prevalent causes:
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
- High blood pressure: While you’re pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, to some extent, why it’s extremely important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other serious conditions. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be tracked.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your child, can both be impacted in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you become pregnant, your body is doing an exceptional amount of work. As a result, all kinds of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be blocked by a condition called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too quickly. Pregnancy produces 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.
In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well understood. The essential thing will be to be mindful of your symptoms and be in frequent communication with your doctor.
How do you treat this kind of hearing loss?
Treatment of this type of hearing loss will likely depend on the underlying cause. The question that many people have is: will my hearing return to normal? In most situations, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or maybe even before.
However, this isn’t always the situation, so it’s important to be proactive when you observe symptoms. For instance, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. The outcome will also depend on how fast you get treatment in the case of 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 assessment to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s essential to be sure you watch out for and protect your hearing. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Give us a call today to schedule a hearing assessment.