Of course, pregnancy is awesome and incredible. But it can also be sort of… uncomfortable, at least at times, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. There are all kinds of peculiar side effects, like morning sickness, health challenges, and changes to your body. None of this takes away from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now there’s another possible little disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most individuals don’t immediately connect hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-associated hearing loss is actually more common than most individuals may presume. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. Pregnancy-associated hearing loss isn’t something you need to be worried about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and could call for immediate medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, the answer sort of depends on the root cause, and how fast you address it.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t make an appearance on many sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. This means that, generally speaking, people may be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than simply turning the volume up on your devices, after all. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Headaches and migraines: You may also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get regularly.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is frequently linked to pregnancy-related hearing loss. In some circumstances, this tinnitus might even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is called pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your care team about what you’re feeling.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some cases, whatever is impacting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance problems if you have a problem with your inner ear. And that also goes for pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- A plugged feeling in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most obvious. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs suddenly and can be more apparent. You need to report any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your provider as soon as possible. You might require emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
These aren’t universal symptoms. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss. Either way, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious concern.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Well, maybe, sometimes. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-induced hearing loss possibly be caused? Here are several of the most prevalent causes:
- Some of the typical things: If you get an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of obstruction in your ear (like earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you get pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. As a consequence, all sorts of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- High blood pressure: While 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 ailments, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be tracked.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of repercussions for your health and your baby’s health. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
- Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be blocked by a disorder called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this kind of bone growth. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and just how much it affects hearing, is ongoing.
In some instances, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well understood. The important thing will be to be mindful of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your provider.
How is this form of hearing loss treated?
Treatment of this form of hearing loss will usually depend on the underlying cause. The question that many individuals have is: will my hearing return to normal? Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should go back to normal, or maybe even sooner.
But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you observe because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. You may need additional treatment if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, for example. Likewise, if you experience abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how rapidly you receive treatment.
That’s why it’s so essential to be certain that you report these symptoms to your provider. You might then go through a complete hearing screening or evaluation 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 juggling so many other things, it’s essential to make sure you pay attention to and safeguard your hearing. One of the best ways to do that is to remain in touch with us and with your care team. Schedule a hearing assessment with us as soon as possible.