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 when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be pretty uncomfortable, at least sometimes. There are all sorts of weird side effects, like morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. Getting there can be a bit of a process, but that doesn’t detract from the happiness of being a parent.

And now there’s another potential little disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.

Most people don’t immediately connect hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-associated hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most people might presume. It’s not a bad idea to watch out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you should be concerned about in most cases. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could require swift medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, it could be, depending on how fast you treat it and what the root cause is.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?

You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. People generally don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it might be beneficial to know what to look out for.

After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond turning up the volume on your television. Here are a few of the most common:

  • You feel a fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
  • Headaches and migraines: You may also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have regularly.
  • Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-related 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 is not functioning properly, you may experience issues with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
  • Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most apparent. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” happens all of a sudden and can be more apparent. You should convey any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as possible. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you may need emergency treatment.
  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is frequently linked to pregnancy-induced hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some cases, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “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.

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

What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?

Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Well, perhaps, sometimes. But being pregnant might also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to impact your hearing.

So how can pregnancy-induced hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common 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.
  • Some of the typical things: If you get an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of obstruction in your ear (like earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
  • An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be affected in lots of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant woman.
  • High blood pressure: When you are pregnant, high blood pressure can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, in part, why it’s really important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe conditions. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be tracked.
  • 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 lead to this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out just how much it affects hearing.

In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss could be hard 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 type of hearing loss?

The root cause of this kind of hearing loss will largely dictate the course of treatment. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most common question individuals will have. In most cases, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or possibly even before.

But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you observe because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. For example, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. Likewise, 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 doctor is so important. The next step will most likely be a thorough hearing assessment to rule out any more serious conditions and try to diagnose the underlying cause.

Protect your hearing

Protecting your hearing is something you need to pay attention to particularly when you’re pregnant. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing assessment with us as soon as possible.

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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