It’s an awesome and incredible experience, having a baby. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be pretty unpleasant, at least sometimes. There are all kinds of strange side effects, like morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. None of this takes away from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole process 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 someone is talking about hearing loss. So it may be a surprise 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-induced hearing loss is harmless and insignificant. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and could call for immediate medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you address it and what the root cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. This means that, generally, people might be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it may be beneficial to know what to look out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond turning up the volume on your television. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
- Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is probably the most obvious indication of hearing loss. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” happens all of a sudden and can be more obvious. You should convey any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as you can. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you may require emergency treatment.
- You feel plugged in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some situations, 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 by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your doctor about what you’re feeling.
- 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. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t an exception.
None of these symptoms are necessarily universal. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but not others. Either way, it’s a good plan to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious issue.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Does being pregnant affect hearing? Well, perhaps, in some cases. But being pregnant might also impact other parts of your body that will then go on to impact your hearing.
So, what are the possible 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. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other serious conditions. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be tracked.
- 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.
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is performing an extraordinary amount of work when you become pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as an outcome.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare condition called otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear start growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. 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.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well understood. The essential thing will be to keep track of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your provider.
How is this form of hearing loss treated?
Treatment of this kind of hearing loss will likely depend on the underlying cause. The question that many individuals have is: will my hearing return to normal? Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should return to normal, or possibly even sooner.
However, this is not always the default, so it’s essential to be proactive when you notice symptoms. You may need extra treatment if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, for example. Similarly, if you suffer from sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.
That’s why it’s so important to be certain that you report these symptoms to your doctor. You may then go through a complete hearing screening or assessment to help figure out your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Protecting your hearing is something you should pay attention to especially when you’re pregnant. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Schedule a hearing assessment with us as soon as possible.