It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a child. But it can also be kind of… unpleasant, 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 kinds of weird side effects. None of this takes away from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole process to get there.
And now there’s another possible small disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Pregnancy isn’t normally the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-induced hearing loss is actually more common than most people might think. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. Pregnancy-associated hearing loss isn’t something you should be worried about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and could require immediate medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, it could be, depending on how fast you treat it and what the underlying cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on a lot of sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than simply cranking the volume up on your devices, after all. The most common symptoms include the following:
- A feeling of fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss could sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is often linked to pregnancy-induced hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some instances, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “pulsatile tinnitus”. You should talk to your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most apparent. But if it comes on abruptly, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any form of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as possible. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you might need emergency treatment.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can affect 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. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have on a regular basis.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but not others. In any event, if you experience hearing loss or any of the related symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s typically a good idea to talk to your provider. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious issue.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Does being pregnant impact hearing? Well, maybe, in some cases. But being pregnant may also impact other parts of your body that will then go on to impact your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-induced hearing loss possibly be caused? Here are several of the most prevalent causes:
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you become pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. As a result, all sorts of changes are afoot, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction known as otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear start growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. In pregnant individuals, this faster bone growth might be caused by changes in your hormones or other changes in your body. It should be noted that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and just how much it affects hearing, is continuing.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. And this is, to some extent, why it’s really important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe ailments. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be monitored.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of repercussions for your health and your child’s health. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well comprehended. Routinely talking to your physician and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How do you treat this type of hearing loss?
The root cause of this type of hearing loss will generally determine the course of treatment. The question that most people have is: will my hearing return to normal? 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 notice because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. For instance, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you could require additional treatment. The results 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 be sure you report these symptoms to your provider. You might then undergo a comprehensive hearing screening or assessment to help figure out your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more dangerous possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s essential to be certain you pay attention to and safeguard your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Give us a call today to schedule a hearing assessment.