Of course, pregnancy is awesome and fantastic. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be rather uncomfortable, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health hazards, and all sorts of strange side effects. Getting there can be somewhat of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the happiness of being a parent.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of disadvantages.
Most individuals don’t immediately associate hearing loss with pregnancy. So it may be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather common. 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 banal. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could require swift medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, it could be, depending on how quickly you treat it and what the root cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t show up on a lot of sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. This means that, generally speaking, individuals may be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it might be helpful to know what to watch out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than turning the volume up on your television. The most common symptoms include the following:
- A feeling of fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most apparent. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs all of a sudden and can be more obvious. You should convey any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your physician as soon as you can. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you might need emergency treatment.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can impact the inner ear (or, in some instances, whatever is impacting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have an issue with your inner ear. And that also goes for pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some situations, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is called pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your doctor about what you’re feeling.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
None of these symptoms are fundamentally 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 plan to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can in some cases be a sign of some rare but bigger issues.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Does being pregnant impact hearing? Well, perhaps, sometimes. But being pregnant may also impact other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.
So, what are the possible causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most common include:
- High blood pressure: While you’re pregnant, high blood pressure can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. So telling your doctor about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe conditions. These are problems that need to be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you become pregnant, your body is doing an exceptional amount of work. As a result, all sorts of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be affected in lots of ways by an iron deficiency. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
- Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be obstructed by a disorder 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 type of bone growth. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it impacts hearing, is ongoing.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well understood. The essential thing will be to keep track of your symptoms and be in frequent communication with your doctor.
How do you treat this kind of hearing loss?
Treatment of this form of hearing loss will likely depend on the root cause. The question that most 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 important to be aggressive when you notice symptoms. You may require extra treatment if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, for example. The outcome will also depend on how rapidly you get treatment when it comes to abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
That’s why it’s so essential to make sure you report these symptoms to your provider. The next step will probably be a complete hearing evaluation to rule out any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the underlying cause.
Protect your hearing
Protecting your hearing is something you should watch out for 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.