It’s an awesome and incredible experience, having a child. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be fairly uncomfortable, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health hazards, and all kinds of strange side effects. Getting there can be somewhat of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the joy of being a parent.
And now there’s another possible little disadvantage 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-associated hearing loss is actually more common than most individuals may think. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-related hearing loss is harmless and banal. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and may require immediate medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, the answer sort of depends on the root cause, and how rapidly you treat it.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t show up on a lot of sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. It’s not nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it might be useful to know what to watch out for.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than turning the volume up on your television. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is frequently linked to pregnancy-related hearing loss. In some cases, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is called pulsatile tinnitus). You should consult your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can impact the inner ear (or, in some situations, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear isn’t functioning correctly, you may experience problems with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. And that also applies to pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Headaches and migraines: You may also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most evident. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” happens abruptly and can be more noticeable. Any form of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as possible. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may require emergency treatment.
None of these symptoms are inevitably universal. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but not others. Either way, it’s a good idea to talk to 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.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Well, possibly, sometimes. But being pregnant might also impact other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.
So, what are the possible causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common include:
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is performing an extraordinary amount of work when you get pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are experiencing lots of changes, as an outcome.
- High blood pressure: While you are pregnant, high blood pressure can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. Serious ailments, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be monitored.
- 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 induces hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this kind of bone growth. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and just how much it affects hearing, is ongoing.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of repercussions for your health and your baby’s health. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts 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 difficult to identify. Regularly talking to your physician and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.
How do you manage this form of hearing loss?
The underlying cause of this form of hearing loss will generally determine the course of treatment. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most common question people will have. In most situations, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or possibly even before.
But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you detect because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. For instance, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. The outcome will also depend on how rapidly you get treatment when it comes to sudden sensorineural hearing loss.
That’s why it’s so important to be certain that 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 root cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s important 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.