It’s an amazing and incredible experience, having a child. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be rather uncomfortable, at least sometimes. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health challenges, and all sorts of strange side effects. None of this takes away from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.
And now there’s another possible little drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.
Pregnancy isn’t typically the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-related hearing loss is actually more common than most individuals may think. It’s not a bad idea to watch out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you need to be worried about in most cases. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could require swift medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you address it and what the underlying cause is.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You generally won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. This means that, generally, individuals might be less likely to anticipate 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 are about more than turning the volume up on your television. Here are a few of the most common:
- Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
- 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 known as pulsatile tinnitus). You should talk to your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most apparent. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs all of a sudden and can be more obvious. You need to convey any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your physician as soon as you can. You may need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-related hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some situations, whatever is impacting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have an issue with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t an exception.
- You feel a fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss might sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
None of these symptoms are fundamentally universal. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but not others. In any case, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s generally a good idea to talk to your doctor. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious problem.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Does being pregnant affect hearing? Sometimes, possibly. But being pregnant might also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to impact your hearing.
So, what are the possible causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most prevalent include:
- 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 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. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant woman.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. So telling your doctor about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other serious conditions. These are problems that should be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
- Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
- Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be blocked by a condition called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. In pregnant women, this quicker bone growth might be caused by changes in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out just how much it affects hearing.
In some instances, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well comprehended. The essential thing will be to be mindful of your symptoms and be in frequent communication with your doctor.
How do you manage this kind of hearing loss?
Treatment of this kind of hearing loss will likely depend on the root cause. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most common question individuals will have. In most situations, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once your pregnancy is over, or maybe even before.
However, this isn’t always the situation, so it’s essential to be aggressive when you notice symptoms. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. The results will also depend on how rapidly you get treatment when it comes to sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your physician is so important. The next step will probably be a thorough hearing evaluation to rule out any more serious conditions and try to diagnose the root cause.
Protect your hearing
Protecting your hearing is something you should watch out for particularly when you’re pregnant. 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 assessment.