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 when it comes to 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 hazards, and all kinds of weird 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 disadvantages.

Most people don’t instantly connect hearing loss with pregnancy. So it may be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is somewhat common. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t something you should be concerned about in most cases. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could call for swift medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, the answer kind of depends on the root cause, and how fast you treat it.

Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms

Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t show up on many sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. People usually don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it may be helpful to know what to watch out for.

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:

  • Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently linked to tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some circumstances, sound like your own heartbeat which is known as “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your doctor about what you’re feeling.
  • Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most obvious. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” comes on suddenly and can be more apparent. You should report any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your physician as soon as possible. You might need emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.
  • 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. Whenever your inner ear is not working properly, you might have issues with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. And that also goes for pregnancy-related hearing loss.
  • Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
  • You feel a fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.

These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but not others. In any event, 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 doctor. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be an indication of some rare but bigger issues.

What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?

Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Well, possibly, in some cases. 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-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Here are several of the most prevalent causes:

  • An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your child, can both be affected in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant woman.
  • Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
  • High blood pressure: When you’re pregnant, high blood pressure can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, to some extent, why it’s extremely important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. Serious ailments, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are issues that should be watched carefully throughout your pregnancy.
  • Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction known as otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. Pregnancy produces hormonal changes and other body changes that can cause this type of bone growth. It should be noted that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it affects hearing, is continuing.
  • Hormone and circulatory changes: When you get pregnant, your body is doing an exceptional amount of work. Your hormones and circulatory system are experiencing lots of changes, as a result.

In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well comprehended. The important thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.

How do you manage this kind of hearing loss?

Treatment of this form of hearing loss will likely depend on the root cause. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most prevalent question people will have. In most situations, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once your pregnancy is over, or possibly even before.

But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you notice because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. You may need additional treatment if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, for example. The outcome will also depend on how quickly you get treatment in the case of abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.

For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your physician is so important. You may then undergo a comprehensive hearing screening or assessment to help figure out your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more severe possible impacts).

Protect your hearing

Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s important to make sure you watch out for and protect 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 exam with us as soon as possible.

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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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