It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a child. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be fairly unpleasant, at least sometimes. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health hazards, and all kinds of weird side effects. None of this takes away from the delight of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now there’s another possible little drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.
Pregnancy isn’t typically the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-related hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most people might presume. It’s not a bad idea to watch out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-induced hearing loss isn’t something you need to be concerned about in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could require swift medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, the answer sort of depends on the underlying cause, and how quickly you treat it.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on a lot of sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. 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 go beyond cranking the volume up on your television. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most obvious. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” happens suddenly and can be more apparent. You should report any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your provider as soon as possible. You might need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear is not working correctly, you might experience issues with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t an exception.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is often associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some cases, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your doctor about what you’re feeling.
- A plugged feeling in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss may in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
None of these symptoms are fundamentally universal. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss. In any case, 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. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be a sign of some rare but bigger problems.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Sometimes, possibly. 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-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most prevalent include:
- Some of the typical things: If you get an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of obstruction in your ear (such as earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- 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 sometimes be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is performing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are experiencing lots of changes, as an outcome.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other serious ailments. These are problems that should be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- 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. In pregnant women, this faster bone growth may be caused by changes in your hormones or other changes in your body. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and just how much it impacts hearing, is continuing.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well comprehended. The important thing will be to be mindful of your symptoms and be in frequent communication with your doctor.
How is this form of hearing loss treated?
The root cause of this form of hearing loss will largely determine the course of treatment. The question that most people have is: will my hearing return to normal? In most cases, yes, your hearing will return to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or possibly even before.
But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you observe because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. You might need extra treatment if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, for example. The outcome will also depend on how fast you get treatment in the case of abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
That’s why it’s so important to be sure you report these symptoms to your doctor. 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 severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Protecting your hearing is something you should pay attention to especially when you’re pregnant. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing test with us as soon as possible.