It’s an amazing and incredible experience, having a child. But it can also be sort of… uncomfortable, at least at times, and at least when it involves 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 takes away from the joy of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now there’s another possible small drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.
Pregnancy isn’t normally the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. So it might be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is fairly prevalent. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you need to be concerned about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and might call for immediate medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, the answer kind of depends on the root cause, and how rapidly you treat it.
What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. It’s not nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. This means that, generally speaking, individuals may be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it might be useful to know what to watch out for.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than simply cranking the volume up on your devices, after all. Here are some of the most common:
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is often associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some circumstances, this tinnitus might 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 talking to your doctor about what you’re feeling.
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
- You feel a fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss might 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 impact the inner ear (or, in some cases, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have a problem with your inner ear. And that also goes for pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is probably the most apparent sign of hearing loss. But if it comes on suddenly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You should report any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your provider as soon as you can. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you may need emergency treatment.
None of these symptoms are inevitably universal. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss. Either way, it’s a good plan to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be an indication of some rare but larger problems.
The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss
Does being pregnant impact hearing? Well, maybe, 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, what are the potential causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Here are several of the most common causes:
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. And this is, in part, why it’s really important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other serious ailments. These are issues that should be tracked carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is doing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as a result.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your child, can both be affected 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, common things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
- 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 quickly. Pregnancy produces hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this type of bone growth. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and just how much it affects hearing, is continuing.
In some instances, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well comprehended. The important thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in regular communication with your provider.
How do you manage this kind of hearing loss?
The underlying cause of this kind of hearing loss will generally dictate the course of treatment. Will my hearing return 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.
But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you observe because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. For instance, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. Likewise, if you experience abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome 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 might then go through a comprehensive hearing screening or assessment to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s essential to be certain you watch out for and safeguard your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Give us a call today to schedule a hearing evaluation.