Understanding Hearing Loss During Pregnancy

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 it can also be sort of… uncomfortable, at least at times, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health challenges, and all kinds of strange side effects. Getting there can be somewhat of a process, but that doesn’t detract from the joy of being a parent.

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

Pregnancy isn’t normally the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-related hearing loss is actually more common than most individuals might think. It’s not a bad idea to watch out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you need to be concerned about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and might require immediate medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss clear up? Well, it could be, depending on how fast you address it and what the root cause is.

Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms

Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t show up on many sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.

Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond simply turning up the volume on your devices, after all. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:

  • Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is likely the most apparent indication of hearing loss. But if it comes on abruptly, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any form of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as you can. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you may require emergency treatment.
  • Headaches and migraines: You may also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have regularly.
  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is frequently 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 known as pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists on its own or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your doctor about what you’re feeling.
  • You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
  • Dizziness and imbalance: In many instances, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can affect the inner ear (or, in some instances, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear isn’t functioning correctly, you might experience problems with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.

These aren’t universal symptoms. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss. Either way, it’s a good plan to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be an indication of some rare but bigger issues.

What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?

Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Well, perhaps, sometimes. 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-induced hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common include:

  • 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.
  • High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. So telling your doctor about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other serious conditions. These are problems that should be watched carefully throughout your pregnancy.
  • An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of repercussions for your health and your child’s health. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): 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: There’s a rare condition known as otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear start growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. Pregnancy induces hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this kind of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still working out just how much it affects hearing.

In some instances, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well comprehended. Routinely 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 usually depend on the underlying cause. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most common question people will have. In most cases, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or possibly even before.

However, this is not always the situation, so it’s essential to be proactive when you detect symptoms. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. Likewise, if you suffer from sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.

That’s why it’s so important to be certain that you report these symptoms to your provider. The next step will most likely be a complete hearing assessment to eliminate any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the underlying cause.

Protect your hearing

Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s essential to be certain you pay attention to and safeguard 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.

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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