Comprehending 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… 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 challenges, and all sorts of strange side effects. None of this takes away from the joy of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.

And now we can add hearing loss to that list of drawbacks.

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

Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms

Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t show up on a lot of sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. 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 is about more than simply cranking up the volume on your devices, after all. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:

  • Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is often associated with tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. 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 talk to your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
  • You feel a fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
  • Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most evident. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs suddenly and can be more noticeable. Any form of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as possible. You may need emergency treatment to prevent the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.
  • Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the source of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss might be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have an issue with your inner ear. 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 have on a regular basis.

These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but not others. 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 problem.

What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?

Is hearing affected by pregnancy? In some cases, maybe. 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 potential causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Here are several of the most prevalent causes:

  • Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
  • An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be affected in lots of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant woman.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is performing an extraordinary amount of work when you get pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as a result.
  • Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction called otosclerosis in which 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 produces hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring out just how much it affects hearing.
  • High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result 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 ailments. These are problems that should be watched carefully throughout your pregnancy.

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

How do you manage this kind of hearing loss?

Treatment of this type of hearing loss will usually depend on the root cause. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most common question individuals will have. In most situations, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or possibly even before.

However, this isn’t always the situation, so it’s important to be proactive when you observe symptoms. You might need extra treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for example. 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 doctor. The next step will probably be a comprehensive hearing evaluation to rule out any more serious conditions and try to diagnose the underlying cause.

Protect your hearing

Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s essential to make sure you pay attention to and safeguard your hearing. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Schedule a hearing test with us right away.

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.