It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a child. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be pretty uncomfortable, at least sometimes. There are all kinds of strange side effects, like morning sickness, health challenges, and changes to your body. Getting there can be a bit of a process, but that doesn’t detract from the joy of being a parent.
And now we can add hearing loss to that list of disadvantages.
Pregnancy isn’t normally the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-associated hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most people may presume. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. Pregnancy-induced hearing loss isn’t something you need to be concerned about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue 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 rapidly you address it.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. It’s not nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. People generally don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.
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:
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
- Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is likely the most apparent sign of hearing loss. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs all of a sudden and can be more obvious. Any type of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as you can. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may require emergency treatment.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is often associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some instances, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your care team about what you’re feeling.
- A feeling of fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- 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 might be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have an issue with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t an exception.
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 related symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s typically a good idea to talk to your provider. That’s because these symptoms can in some cases be an indication of some rare but bigger issues.
The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss
Does being pregnant affect hearing? Well, perhaps, in some cases. 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:
- High blood pressure: When you are pregnant, high blood pressure can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, in part, why it’s extremely important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe conditions. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be monitored.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you become pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. Your hormones and circulatory system are experiencing lots of changes, as a result.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction known as otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. Pregnancy produces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still working out exactly how much it affects hearing.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your child’s health. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss could be difficult to determine. Routinely talking to your physician and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How do you treat this kind of hearing loss?
The underlying cause of this type of hearing loss will generally dictate the course of treatment. The question that many individuals have is: will my hearing return to normal? In most cases, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once your pregnancy is over, or possibly even before.
However, this isn’t always the default, so it’s essential to be aggressive when you detect symptoms. You may require extra treatment if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, for instance. The outcome will also depend on how quickly you get treatment when it comes to abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you report these symptoms to your provider. The next step will most likely be a thorough hearing assessment to rule out any more serious conditions and try to diagnose the inherent cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s important to be 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. Give us a call today to set up a hearing evaluation.