It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a child. But it can also be sort of… uncomfortable, at least at times, and at least in terms of how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health challenges, and all kinds 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 there’s another potential small drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.
Pregnancy isn’t typically the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. So it may be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is fairly prevalent. 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 concern and may call for immediate medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you treat it and what the root cause is.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss?
You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. It’s not nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it may be helpful to know what to watch out for.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond simply turning the volume up on your devices, after all. Here are some of the most common:
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most apparent. But if it occurs suddenly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to report any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your provider as soon as possible. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you might need emergency treatment.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have on a regular basis.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-related hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some situations, whatever is impacting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear isn’t working properly, you might experience issues with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. And that also applies to pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- A plugged feeling in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss could sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some cases, this tinnitus might even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). You should consult your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
These aren’t universal symptoms. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss. In any event, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s typically a good plan to talk to your provider. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious issue.
What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Does being pregnant affect hearing? Sometimes, possibly. But being pregnant may 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 common causes:
- High blood pressure: When you are pregnant, high blood pressure can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can trigger high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be tracked.
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any type of obstruction in your ear (like earwax), this can trigger hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition called otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear start growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. Pregnancy induces hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this kind of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out exactly how much it affects hearing.
- 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 in some cases be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is doing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. As a consequence, all kinds of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss may be difficult to identify. Regularly consulting your physician and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How do you manage this form of hearing loss?
Treatment of this form of hearing loss will usually depend on the underlying cause. The question that many people have is: will my hearing loss clear up? Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should return to normal, or maybe even sooner.
However, this isn’t always the situation, so it’s important to be proactive when you notice symptoms. For instance, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. The outcome will also depend on how fast you get treatment when it comes to abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so essential. The next step will probably be a complete hearing assessment to rule out any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the underlying cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s essential to be certain you watch out for and protect 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.