It’s an awesome and incredible experience, having a baby. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be rather unpleasant, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health challenges, and all kinds of weird side effects. 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.
Most people don’t instantly connect hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-related hearing loss is actually more common than most individuals might think. It’s not a bad idea to keep an eye out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you need to be worried about in most cases. Unfortunately, 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 fast you address it and what the underlying cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. This means that, generally, individuals might be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than cranking the volume up on your television. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- You feel plugged in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss could in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
- 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). Whenever your inner ear isn’t functioning correctly, you might have issues with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. And that also applies to pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is frequently associated with pregnancy-induced hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some circumstances, sound like your own heartbeat which 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.
- Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is probably the most apparent sign of hearing loss. But if it happens suddenly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to convey any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your provider as soon as possible. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you may need emergency treatment.
None of these symptoms are necessarily universal. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but maybe not others. Either way, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be an indication of some rare but bigger problems.
The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Sometimes, possibly. But other parts of your body are impacted by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then impact your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-related 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 type of obstruction in your ear (like earwax), this can trigger 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. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as an outcome.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be impacted in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. And this is, to some extent, why it’s really important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can trigger high blood pressure. These are problems that should be tracked carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be obstructed by an ailment called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. Pregnancy induces hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out exactly how much it impacts hearing.
In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well comprehended. The essential thing will be to keep track of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.
How is this form of hearing loss managed?
The root cause of this kind of hearing loss will generally determine the course of treatment. The question that many individuals have is: will my hearing loss clear up? Once your pregnancy has ended, 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. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. 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 essential to make sure you report these symptoms to your provider. The next step will most likely be a comprehensive hearing assessment to eliminate any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the inherent cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s essential to be sure you watch out for and safeguard 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 set up a hearing assessment.