Understanding Hearing Loss During Pregnancy

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

It’s an awesome and wonderful experience, having a baby. But it can also be kind of… uncomfortable, at least at times, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health challenges, and all sorts of weird side effects. Getting there can be somewhat of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the joy of being a parent.

And now there’s another possible little disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.

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 fairly common. It’s not a bad idea to keep an eye out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-associated hearing loss isn’t something you should be worried about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and might call for immediate medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, the answer sort of depends on the root cause, and how rapidly you treat it.

Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms

You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. It’s not nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. This means that, generally speaking, people may be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So, it may be beneficial to know what to look out for.

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

  • A feeling of fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss might sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
  • Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have on a regular basis.
  • Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected 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. Whenever your inner ear isn’t functioning correctly, you may experience problems with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. And that also applies to pregnancy-related hearing loss.
  • Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is probably the most apparent indication of hearing loss. But if it comes on suddenly, 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 stop sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you might require emergency treatment.
  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is frequently associated with pregnancy-induced hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some circumstances, sound like your own heartbeat which is known as “pulsatile tinnitus”. You should consult your physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.

These aren’t universal symptoms. You will probably experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss. In any event, if you experience hearing loss or any of the related symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s usually a good plan to talk to your doctor. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious problem.

The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss

Is hearing affected by pregnancy? Well, maybe, in some cases. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then impact your hearing.

So, what are the likely causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most prevalent include:

  • 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 quickly. Pregnancy produces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this kind of bone growth. It should be noted that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it affects hearing, is continuing.
  • An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your baby’s health. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
  • Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is performing an exceptional amount of work when you get pregnant. As a result, all kinds of changes are happening, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
  • High blood pressure: When you’re pregnant, high blood pressure can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, in part, why it’s really important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. Serious ailments, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be tracked.

In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss may be difficult to determine. The essential thing will be to keep an eye on your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.

How do you treat this form of hearing loss?

The root cause of this form of hearing loss will largely dictate the course of treatment. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most common question people will have. In most situations, yes, your hearing will return to normal once your pregnancy is over, or maybe 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. For instance, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. Similarly, if you suffer from abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how rapidly you receive treatment.

That’s why it’s so essential to be sure you report these symptoms to your provider. You may then go through a complete hearing screening or assessment to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more severe possible impacts).

Protect your hearing

Safeguarding your hearing is something you need to watch out for particularly when you’re pregnant. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. 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.