Hearing Loss While You’re Pregnant

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

It’s an amazing and incredible experience, having a child. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be rather uncomfortable, at least sometimes. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health challenges, and all kinds of strange side effects. None of this detracts from the joy of being a parent… but it’s a whole process to get there.

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

Pregnancy isn’t usually the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-induced hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most people might think. It’s not a bad idea to keep an eye out for these symptoms. In some cases, the source of pregnancy-associated hearing loss is innocuous and insignificant. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and could require immediate medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you address it and what the root cause is.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss?

Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t show up on a lot of sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. It’s not nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it may be helpful to know what to watch out for.

After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond cranking up the volume on your television. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:

  • Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
  • Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance problems if you have an issue with your inner ear. And that also applies to pregnancy-related hearing loss.
  • Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is probably the most obvious indication of hearing loss. But if it happens all of a sudden, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to report any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as possible. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may need emergency treatment.
  • You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is frequently associated with pregnancy-induced hearing loss. In some cases, 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.

None of these symptoms are fundamentally universal. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying 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. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious concern.

What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?

Does being pregnant affect hearing? Well, maybe, sometimes. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.

So, what are the possible causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common include:

  • An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your child, can both be impacted in lots of ways by an iron deficiency. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the woman who is pregnant.
  • High blood pressure: When you are pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, in part, why it’s extremely important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. Serious ailments, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be monitored.
  • Some of the typical things: If you get an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any type of obstruction in your ear (like 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 an ailment 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. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it impacts hearing, is ongoing.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is doing an extraordinary amount of work when you become pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as an outcome.

In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well comprehended. The essential thing will be to be mindful of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.

How is this kind of hearing loss managed?

The underlying cause of this form of hearing loss will largely dictate the course of treatment. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most prevalent question people will have. Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should return to normal, or possibly even sooner.

But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you notice because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. You may require additional treatment if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, for example. The outcome will also depend on how fast you get treatment when it comes to abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.

For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so essential. You may then undergo a comprehensive hearing screening or assessment to help figure out your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more severe possible impacts).

Protect your hearing

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

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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