It’s an awesome and wonderful experience, having a child. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be rather unpleasant, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health challenges, and all sorts of strange side effects. Getting there can be somewhat of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the happiness of being a parent.
And now there’s another potential little disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most individuals don’t instantly associate hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-associated hearing loss is actually more common than most people might think. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. In some cases, the source of pregnancy-associated hearing loss is harmless and banal. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could require swift medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss clear up? Well, it could be, depending on how quickly you address it and what the underlying cause is.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t show up on many sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. This means that, generally speaking, individuals might be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than just turning up the volume on your devices, after all. Here are some of the most common:
- Headaches and migraines: You may also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have regularly.
- You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the source of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear is not working properly, you might experience issues with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most obvious. But if it happens all of a sudden, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any form of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as you can. You might require emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is often associated with pregnancy-related hearing loss. In some situations, this tinnitus might even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). You should consult your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you might 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 might be an indication of a more serious problem.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Does being pregnant affect hearing? Well, maybe, sometimes. But other parts of your body are impacted by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-induced hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most prevalent include:
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is doing an exceptional amount of work when you get pregnant. As a consequence, all sorts of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your child, can both be impacted 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 obstructions, 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. In pregnant individuals, this quicker bone growth may be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still working out exactly how much it affects hearing.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is really important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe ailments. These are problems that should be watched carefully throughout your pregnancy.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss could be hard to identify. Regularly consulting your physician and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How is this type of hearing loss managed?
The root cause of this type of hearing loss will generally determine the course of treatment. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most prevalent question individuals will have. Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should go back to normal, or possibly even sooner.
However, this isn’t always the situation, so it’s important to be proactive when you observe symptoms. For instance, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. Similarly, if you suffer from abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how rapidly 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 evaluation to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Protecting your hearing is something you need to watch out for especially when you’re pregnant. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing examination with us right away.