Hearing Loss While You’re Pregnant

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

It’s an amazing and incredible experience, having a baby. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be rather unpleasant, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health challenges, and all sorts of strange side effects. None of this takes away from the happiness 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 might be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather prevalent. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. In some cases, the source of pregnancy-related hearing loss is innocuous and insignificant. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious issue that could require swift medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you treat it and what the underlying cause is.

Pregnancy-related hearing loss symptoms

Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on a lot of sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. This means that, generally, individuals may be less likely to anticipate pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.

After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss go beyond turning up the volume on your television. Here are some of the most common:

  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is frequently associated with pregnancy-related hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some circumstances, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your care team about what you’re feeling.
  • Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most obvious. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs abruptly and can be more apparent. Any form of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be reported to your healthcare team as soon as possible. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you may need emergency treatment.
  • Headaches and migraines: You might also have an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get regularly.
  • 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 source of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear is not working correctly, you might experience problems with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. And that also applies to pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
  • You feel a fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.

These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but maybe not others. Either way, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms might be an indication of a more serious issue.

What causes pregnancy-induced hearing loss?

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

So, what are the possible causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss? Well, the causes differ… but some of the most prevalent include:

  • Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction called otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. In pregnant individuals, this quicker bone growth may be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still an ongoing process, and scientists are still working out just how much it impacts hearing.
  • 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. One of those impacts can in some cases be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you become pregnant, your body is doing an exceptional amount of work. As a consequence, all kinds of changes are happening, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
  • High blood pressure: While you’re pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, in part, why it’s extremely 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.
  • Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.

Sometimes, the cause of your hearing loss could be hard to identify. The essential thing will be to keep track of your symptoms and be in regular communication with your doctor.

How do you manage this type of hearing loss?

Treatment of this form of hearing loss will likely depend on the underlying cause. The question that many people have is: will my hearing loss clear up? Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should return to normal, or possibly even sooner.

However, this isn’t always the default, so it’s essential to be proactive when you observe symptoms. For instance, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. The results will also depend on how quickly you get treatment when it comes to sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

That’s why it’s so essential to be sure you report these symptoms to your doctor. You might then undergo a complete hearing screening or assessment to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more dangerous possible impacts).

Protect your hearing

Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re juggling so many other things, it’s essential to be certain you pay attention to and safeguard your hearing. 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 set up a hearing assessment.

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.