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 child. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be fairly unpleasant, at least in some cases. There are all sorts of strange side effects, like morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. Getting there can be somewhat of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the happiness of being a parent.

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

Pregnancy isn’t usually the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. So it might be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather prevalent. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. In some cases, the source of pregnancy-related hearing loss is harmless and banal. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and may call for immediate medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, the answer kind of depends on the underlying cause, and how fast you address it.

Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms

You generally won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it might be helpful to know what to watch out for.

After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond turning the volume up on your television. The most common symptoms include the following:

  • Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most evident. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” comes on suddenly and can be more noticeable. Any type of abrupt 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 permanent.
  • You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
  • Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is often 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 talk to your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
  • 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 source of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss might be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have a problem with your inner ear. And that also goes for pregnancy-related hearing loss.
  • Headaches and migraines: You might also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get regularly.

These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but not others. Either way, it’s a good plan to contact your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious problem.

The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss

Is hearing affected by pregnancy? In some cases, possibly. But being pregnant may also impact other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.

So how can pregnancy-induced hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common include:

  • Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction known as otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. In pregnant women, this quicker 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 just how much it impacts hearing.
  • 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. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are issues that should be tracked carefully throughout your pregnancy.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you become pregnant, your body is doing an extreme 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 repercussions for your health and your child’s health. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant woman.
  • Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any type of blockage in your ear (like earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.

In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well comprehended. The important thing will be to be mindful of your symptoms and be in frequent communication with your provider.

How do you treat this kind of hearing loss?

The underlying cause of this kind of hearing loss will largely determine the course of treatment. Will my hearing return 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 is not always the situation, so it’s essential to be proactive when you detect symptoms. You might require extra treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for instance. The outcome will also depend on how rapidly you get treatment when it comes to sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure you report these symptoms to your doctor. You may then go through a comprehensive hearing screening or assessment to help figure out your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more dangerous possible impacts).

Protect your hearing

Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s important to be sure 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 evaluation.

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.