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

It’s an awesome and incredible experience, having a baby. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be pretty uncomfortable, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health challenges, and all sorts of weird side effects. 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 potential little drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.

Most individuals don’t instantly connect hearing loss with pregnancy. So it might be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather prevalent. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. Pregnancy-induced hearing loss isn’t something you need to be concerned about in most cases. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could require swift medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, it could be, depending on how fast you address it and what the root cause is.

Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms

You generally won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. This means that, generally, people may be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.

Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than just cranking the volume up on your devices, after all. Here are some of the most common:

  • Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is likely the most obvious indication of hearing loss. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” comes on all of a sudden and can be more obvious. You should 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 might require emergency treatment.
  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is often associated with pregnancy-induced hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some circumstances, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your care team about what you’re feeling.
  • A feeling of fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss could in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
  • Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
  • 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 is not working correctly, you might experience issues with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. And that also goes for pregnancy-induced hearing loss.

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

What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?

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

So, what are the possible causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Here are several of the most prevalent causes:

  • Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction known as otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear start growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this kind of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still an ongoing process, and scientists are still working out just how much it affects hearing.
  • Some of the typical things: If you get an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of blockage in your ear (like earwax), this can trigger hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you become pregnant, your body is doing an exceptional amount of work. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as a result.
  • 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. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant woman.
  • 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, to some extent, why it’s very 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 problems should be monitored.

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

How do you treat this kind of hearing loss?

Treatment of this form of hearing loss will likely depend on the root cause. The question that most people have is: will my hearing loss clear up? In most situations, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or maybe even before.

However, this isn’t always the default, so it’s important to be aggressive when you notice symptoms. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you could require additional treatment. Likewise, if you experience abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.

For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your physician is so important. The next step will most likely be a complete hearing assessment to eliminate any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the root cause.

Protect your hearing

Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s essential 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 assessment.

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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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