Understanding Hearing Loss During Pregnancy

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

Sure, pregnancy is amazing and incredible. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be rather unpleasant, at least in some cases. There are all sorts of weird side effects, like morning sickness, health challenges, and changes to your body. None of this takes away from the joy of being a parent… but it’s a whole process to get there.

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

Most people don’t instantly associate hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-associated hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most individuals may presume. 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. Unfortunately, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could require swift medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss clear up? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you address it and what the underlying cause is.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?

Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t make an appearance on a lot of sitcoms or in many romantic comedies. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. People usually don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.

Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than simply turning the volume up on your devices, after all. Here are some of the most common:

  • You feel a fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss may sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
  • Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-related 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. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t an exception.
  • Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is often linked to tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. In some circumstances, this tinnitus might even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is known as pulsatile tinnitus). You should consult your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
  • Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
  • Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is likely the most evident indication of hearing loss. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” comes on suddenly and can be more obvious. Any type of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as possible. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you might need emergency treatment.

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 case, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s typically a good idea to talk to your provider. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be an indication of some rare but bigger issues.

The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss

Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Sometimes, maybe. But being pregnant may also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to 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:

  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): When you get pregnant, your body is doing an exceptional amount of work. As a consequence, all kinds of changes are happening, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
  • Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be blocked by an ailment called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this kind of bone growth. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it affects hearing, is ongoing.
  • Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
  • An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your child’s health. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
  • High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. So telling your doctor about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe ailments. These are problems that should be monitored carefully throughout your pregnancy.

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

How do you manage this kind of hearing loss?

The root cause of this kind 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. Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should go back to normal, or maybe even sooner.

However, this isn’t always the situation, so it’s important to be proactive when you detect symptoms. You may require extra treatment if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, for instance. Likewise, if you experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how fast you receive treatment.

That’s why it’s so essential to be certain that you report these symptoms to your doctor. The next step will probably be a thorough hearing assessment to eliminate any more severe conditions and try to diagnose the inherent cause.

Protect your hearing

Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s important to be certain you pay attention to and safeguard your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing assessment 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.