Illini Hearing - Champaign and Mahomet, IL

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

Of course, pregnancy is awesome and fantastic. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be pretty unpleasant, at least sometimes. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health challenges, and all sorts of strange side effects. None of this detracts from the delight of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.

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

Pregnancy isn’t usually the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-induced hearing loss is actually more common than most individuals may think. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-related hearing loss is innocuous and banal. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could require swift medical treatment. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, the answer kind of depends on the root cause, and how quickly you treat it.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?

Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on many sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. It’s not nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. This means that, generally, individuals might be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.

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

  • You feel a fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss could in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
  • Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
  • Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most apparent. But if it happens abruptly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You should convey any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your physician as soon as you can. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you may require emergency treatment.
  • Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently 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 called pulsatile tinnitus). Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your doctor about what you’re feeling.
  • 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. Whenever your inner ear is not functioning properly, you might have problems with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t an exception.

None of these symptoms are fundamentally universal. You will probably experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss. Either way, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious issue.

The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss

Does being pregnant affect hearing? Sometimes, possibly. But other parts of your body are impacted by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then impact your hearing.

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

  • An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of repercussions for your health and your baby’s health. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
  • 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 women, this faster bone growth may be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still working out exactly how much it impacts hearing.
  • High blood pressure: While you are pregnant, high blood pressure can cause tinnitus and hearing loss. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is really important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe ailments. These are issues that should be tracked carefully throughout your pregnancy.
  • Some of the typical things: If you develop an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of blockage in your ear (such as earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is doing an extraordinary amount of work when you get pregnant. As a result, all kinds of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.

Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss could be difficult to determine. The essential thing will be to be mindful of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your provider.

How do you manage this kind of hearing loss?

Treatment of this type of hearing loss will usually depend on the underlying cause. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most common question individuals will have. In most instances, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once your pregnancy is over, or maybe even before.

However, this is not always the situation, so it’s essential to be proactive when you detect symptoms. For instance, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. Likewise, if you experience abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.

For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so essential. The next step will probably be a thorough hearing evaluation to eliminate any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the root cause.

Protect your hearing

Safeguarding your hearing is something you should pay attention to especially 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 schedule a hearing evaluation.

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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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