It’s an awesome and wonderful experience, having a child. But it can also be sort of… uncomfortable, at least sometimes, and at least in terms of how it can make you feel. There are all kinds of peculiar side effects, including morning sickness, health challenges, and changes to your body. None of this detracts from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole process to get there.
And now there’s another possible small disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.
Most individuals don’t instantly associate hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-associated hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most people may think. It’s not a bad idea to watch out for these symptoms. In some cases, the source of pregnancy-induced hearing loss is innocuous and banal. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and might require immediate medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss clear up? Well, the answer kind of depends on the underlying cause, and how fast you address it.
Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms
You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are a lot more cinematic. People usually don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.
After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than turning the volume up on your television. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:
- Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is likely the most obvious indication of hearing loss. But if it happens all of a sudden, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You should convey any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as you can. You may need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.
- Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can impact the inner ear (or, in some instances, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear isn’t working properly, you might have problems with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t an exception.
- Headaches and migraines: You may also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
- Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently linked to tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some cases, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “pulsatile tinnitus”. You should consult your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
- A feeling of fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
None of these symptoms are inevitably universal. 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 consult your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can in some cases be a sign of some rare but larger problems.
What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?
Does being pregnant affect hearing? Sometimes, possibly. But being pregnant might also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.
So, what are the likely causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common include:
- Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is doing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as an outcome.
- 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. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this type of bone growth. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it impacts hearing, is ongoing.
- An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your baby’s health. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
- 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.
- High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe ailments. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be monitored.
In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well comprehended. Regularly talking to your doctor and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.
How do you treat this form of hearing loss?
Treatment of this form of hearing loss will likely depend on the underlying cause. The question that many individuals have is: will my hearing loss clear up? Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should return to normal, or maybe even sooner.
However, this is not always the situation, so it’s important to be aggressive when you notice symptoms. For instance, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you could require additional treatment. Likewise, if you suffer from abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.
That’s why it’s so essential to be sure you report these symptoms to your doctor. You may then go through a complete 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
Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s important to be certain 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 set up a hearing assessment.