It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a baby. But it can also be sort of… unpleasant, at least sometimes, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. There are all sorts of peculiar side effects, including morning sickness, health challenges, and changes to your body. Getting there can be a bit of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the happiness of being a parent.
And now there’s another possible little drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most people don’t instantly associate hearing loss with pregnancy. So it may be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is fairly common. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you should be worried about in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could require swift medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, the answer kind of depends on the root cause, and how rapidly you treat it.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. This means that, generally speaking, people may be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it may be beneficial to know what to look out for.
Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond simply cranking up the volume on your devices, after all. Here are some of the most common:
- 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: Sure, this is likely the most evident indication of hearing loss. But if it happens abruptly, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You should convey any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your physician as soon as possible. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you might require emergency treatment.
- A plugged feeling in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-related hearing loss can impact the inner ear (or, in some instances, whatever is impacting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear isn’t functioning properly, you might experience problems with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
- Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is often associated with pregnancy-related hearing loss. In some cases, this tinnitus might even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is called pulsatile tinnitus). You should consult your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
These aren’t universal symptoms. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss. Either way, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious problem.
The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss
Does being pregnant affect hearing? In some cases, possibly. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.
So how can pregnancy-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most prevalent include:
- Hormone and circulatory changes: When you become pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as an outcome.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your child’s health. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
- Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of obstruction in your ear (such as earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
- 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 causes hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still working out just how much it affects hearing.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. And this is, in part, why it’s really important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are problems that should be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.
Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss could be difficult to determine. The essential thing will be to keep track of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your provider.
How do you treat this form of hearing loss?
Treatment of this form of hearing loss will usually depend on the underlying cause. The question that most people have is: will my hearing return to normal? Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should return to normal, or possibly even sooner.
But it’s also important 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. Similarly, if you experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.
For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your physician is so essential. You might then go through a comprehensive hearing screening or evaluation to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more severe possible impacts).
Protect your hearing
Safeguarding your hearing is something you should watch out for particularly when you’re pregnant. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Give us a call today to schedule a hearing evaluation.