Hearing Loss While You’re Pregnant

Pregnant woman who's suffering from sudden hearing loss having her blood pressure checked

It’s an awesome and wonderful experience, having a baby. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be rather uncomfortable, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health hazards, and all sorts of weird side effects. Getting there can be a bit of a process, but that doesn’t detract 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. So it might be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is somewhat common. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-associated hearing loss is harmless and insignificant. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could require swift medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, the answer kind of depends on the root cause, and how quickly you address it.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?

Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t make an appearance on a lot of sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.

Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond simply turning up the volume on your devices, after all. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
  • A plugged feeling in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is frequently linked to pregnancy-related hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some cases, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “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 symptom of hearing loss is the most obvious. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” comes on abruptly and can be more apparent. You should convey any sudden 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.
  • Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can affect 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 problems if you have a problem with your inner ear. And that also goes for pregnancy-induced hearing loss.

These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but maybe not others. In any case, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s usually a good plan to talk to your provider. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious issue.

The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss

Does being pregnant affect hearing? Sometimes, maybe. But being pregnant might also impact other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.

So, what are the likely causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most prevalent include:

  • 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 doctor 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.
  • Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be obstructed by an ailment called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. Pregnancy produces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still working out exactly how much it impacts hearing.
  • Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you get pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. As a consequence, all kinds of changes are happening, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
  • An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of repercussions 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.

In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well understood. Routinely talking to your physician and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.

How do you manage this form of hearing loss?

Treatment of this kind of hearing loss will likely depend on the root cause. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most common question individuals will have. In most instances, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once your pregnancy is over, or possibly even before.

However, this isn’t always the default, so it’s important to be proactive when you observe symptoms. You might need additional treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for instance. The results will also depend on how quickly you get treatment in the case of sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

That’s why it’s so essential to make sure you report these symptoms to your provider. The next step will probably be a comprehensive hearing assessment to rule out any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the inherent cause.

Protect your hearing

Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s essential to make sure you watch out for and safeguard your hearing. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Give us a call today to schedule a hearing assessment.

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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