It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a child. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be fairly unpleasant, at least sometimes. There are all sorts of strange side effects, including morning sickness, health challenges, and changes to your body. Getting there can be somewhat of a process, but that doesn’t detract from the joy of being a parent.
And now there’s another potential small disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most individuals don’t immediately associate hearing loss with pregnancy. So it may be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather common. It’s not a bad plan to watch out for these symptoms. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-associated hearing loss is harmless and banal. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and could call for immediate medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, it could be, depending on how fast you treat it and what the underlying cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. This means that, generally, people might be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond simply cranking the volume up on your devices, after all. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently linked to tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some situations, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is called pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your doctor about what you’re feeling.
- Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is likely the most apparent sign of hearing loss. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” happens suddenly and can be more apparent. You need to convey any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as you can. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may require emergency treatment.
- A plugged feeling in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing problem with the inner ear can be the source of that 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.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
These aren’t universal symptoms. You will probably 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. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be a sign of some rare but larger problems.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Sometimes, maybe. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then impact your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most prevalent include:
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition known as otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. Pregnancy induces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this kind of bone growth. It should be noted that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and just how much it impacts hearing, is continuing.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is doing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. As a result, all kinds of changes are happening, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is really important. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are problems that should be watched carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- 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. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant woman.
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any type of obstruction in your ear (like earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss may be hard to determine. The essential thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.
How is this kind of hearing loss treated?
Treatment of this type of hearing loss will likely depend on the root cause. The question that many people have is: will my hearing return to normal? Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should return to normal, or possibly even sooner.
However, this is not always the default, so it’s important to be proactive when you observe symptoms. For instance, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. Likewise, if you suffer from sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the results 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 doctor. You may then go through a comprehensive hearing screening or evaluation to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least rule out 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 be sure you pay attention to and safeguard your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing test with us right away.