It’s an awesome and incredible experience, having a child. But it can also be sort of… unpleasant, at least sometimes, and at least in terms of how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health hazards, and all sorts of weird side effects. None of this detracts from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of disadvantages.
Most people don’t immediately connect hearing loss with pregnancy. So it might be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather prevalent. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-related hearing loss is harmless and banal. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could call for swift medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, it could be, depending on how quickly you treat it and what the underlying cause is.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on many sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. This means that, generally, people might be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it might be useful to know what to watch out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond turning the volume up on your television. The most common symptoms include the following:
- You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Headaches and migraines: You may also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have regularly.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is often associated with pregnancy-related hearing loss. 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 on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your care team about what you’re feeling.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the source of that 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 applies to pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most obvious. But if it occurs all of a sudden, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any type of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as possible. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you may need emergency treatment.
None of these symptoms are inevitably universal. Depending on the root 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 associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s generally a good idea to talk to your doctor. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be an indication of some rare but bigger problems.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? In some cases, maybe. But being pregnant might also affect 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? Here are some of the most common causes:
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. So telling your doctor about your hearing loss symptoms is really important. Serious ailments, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be monitored.
- 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 fast. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still an ongoing process, and scientists are still working out just how much it impacts hearing.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your child, can both be impacted in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you get pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as an outcome.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss could be hard to identify. Routinely consulting your doctor and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.
How do you manage this form of hearing loss?
The underlying cause of this type of hearing loss will generally determine the course of treatment. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most common question people will have. In most instances, yes, your hearing will return to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or maybe even before.
However, this is not always the situation, so it’s essential to be proactive when you notice symptoms. You might require extra treatment if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, for instance. The outcome will also depend on how fast you get treatment when it comes to sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
That’s why it’s so essential to make sure you report these symptoms to your provider. The next step will most likely be a complete hearing assessment to eliminate any more serious conditions and try to diagnose the root cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s important to be sure you watch out for and protect your hearing. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Give us a call today to schedule a hearing evaluation.