It’s an awesome and wonderful experience, having a child. But it can also be sort of… unpleasant, at least sometimes, and at least in terms of how it can make you feel. There are all sorts of weird side effects, like morning sickness, health challenges, and changes to your body. 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 small disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most people don’t instantly connect hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-associated hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most people may presume. It’s not a bad plan to keep an eye out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-associated hearing loss isn’t something you should be concerned about in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could call for swift medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, the answer kind of depends on the root cause, and how fast you address it.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t show up on many sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. This means that, generally, people may be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than cranking the volume up on your television. The most common symptoms include the following:
- Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most evident. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs suddenly and can be more apparent. You need to convey any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as possible. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may need emergency treatment.
- Headaches and migraines: You may also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get regularly.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is frequently linked to pregnancy-related hearing loss. In some situations, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your care team about what you’re feeling.
- You feel plugged in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing problem with the inner ear can be the source of that 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.
None of these symptoms are inevitably universal. You will probably experience some symptoms and not others depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss. Either way, it’s a good plan to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can in some cases be an indication of some rare but larger issues.
What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?
Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Well, perhaps, in some cases. But being pregnant may 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? Here are some of the most common causes:
- 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. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
- Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you become pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. As a result, all sorts of changes are happening, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
- Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction known as otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. In pregnant individuals, this quicker bone growth may be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it impacts hearing, is ongoing.
- 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 trigger hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- High blood pressure: While you are pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. Serious ailments, including preeclampsia, can trigger high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be tracked.
In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss may be difficult to identify. The essential thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in regular communication with your provider.
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. The question that many people have is: will my hearing loss clear up? 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 aggressive when you observe symptoms. For instance, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. Similarly, if you suffer from sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how fast you receive treatment.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your physician is so essential. The next step will probably be a thorough hearing evaluation to eliminate any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the inherent cause.
Protect your hearing
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s important to make sure you watch out for and protect 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.