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

It’s an amazing and wonderful experience, having a child. But it can also be sort of… unpleasant, at least sometimes, and at least in terms of how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health hazards, and all kinds of strange side effects. Getting there can be a bit of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the joy of being a parent.

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

Pregnancy isn’t usually the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. So it may be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is somewhat prevalent. It’s not a bad idea to keep an eye out for these symptoms. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-induced hearing loss is innocuous and banal. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could require swift medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss clear up? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you address it and what the root cause is.

Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms

Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on many sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. This means that, generally, people may be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it may be useful to know what to look out for.

After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than cranking the volume up on your television. The most common symptoms include the following:

  • Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing problem with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have a problem with your inner ear. And that also goes for pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
  • Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most evident. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs all of a sudden and can be more obvious. Any type of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as possible. You may require emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
  • Headaches and migraines: You may also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have on a regular basis.
  • You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is often linked to pregnancy-related 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 by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your care team about what you’re feeling.

These aren’t universal symptoms. You will probably experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss. In any case, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s typically a good plan to talk to your provider. That’s because these symptoms can in some cases be a sign of some rare but larger issues.

The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss

Does being pregnant affect hearing? In some cases, maybe. But being pregnant might also impact 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:

  • Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
  • High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. 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 monitored.
  • Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is doing an exceptional amount of work when you get pregnant. As a consequence, all kinds of changes are happening, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
  • Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be obstructed by an ailment called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. In pregnant individuals, this faster bone growth might be caused by changes in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out exactly how much it impacts hearing.
  • 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. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant person.

In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss could be hard to determine. Regularly talking to your doctor and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.

How do you manage this form of hearing loss?

The root cause of this kind of hearing loss will largely dictate the course of treatment. The question that many individuals have is: will my hearing return to normal? In most instances, yes, your hearing will return to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or maybe even before.

However, this isn’t always the situation, so it’s essential to be proactive when you notice symptoms. For example, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. Similarly, if you suffer from abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.

That’s why it’s so important to be sure you report these symptoms to your doctor. The next step will most likely be a thorough hearing evaluation to eliminate any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the underlying cause.

Protect your hearing

Safeguarding your hearing is something you should watch out for particularly when you’re pregnant. 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 set up 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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