Understanding Hearing Loss During Pregnancy

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

Of course, pregnancy is amazing and fantastic. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be pretty uncomfortable, at least in some cases. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health hazards, and all sorts of strange 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 we can add hearing loss to that list of drawbacks.

Pregnancy isn’t typically the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. So it might be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather prevalent. It’s not a bad plan to watch out for these symptoms. Pregnancy-associated 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. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, the answer sort of depends on the root cause, and how quickly you treat it.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss?

You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. People generally don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it might be useful to know what to watch out for.

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

  • You feel plugged in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is often associated with pregnancy-induced hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some instances, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “pulsatile tinnitus”. You should consult your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
  • Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most obvious. But if it happens suddenly, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to convey any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your provider as soon as you can. You might require emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
  • Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
  • Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the source of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance problems if you have an issue with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss isn’t an exception.

None of these symptoms are fundamentally universal. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but maybe not others. In any case, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s generally a good idea to talk to your provider. That’s because these symptoms can in some cases be an indication of some rare but bigger issues.

The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss

Does being pregnant affect hearing? Well, maybe, in some cases. But being pregnant might also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to impact your hearing.

So, what are the potential causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss? Here are some of the most prevalent causes:

  • Some of the typical things: If you get an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any kind of blockage in your ear (like earwax), this can trigger hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
  • High blood pressure: When you are pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. And this is, in part, why it’s really important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe conditions. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be monitored.
  • 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. In pregnant women, this faster bone growth might be caused by changes in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still an ongoing process, and scientists are still figuring out just how much it impacts hearing.
  • An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be impacted in lots of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant person.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is performing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. As a consequence, all sorts of changes are afoot, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.

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

How do you treat this form of hearing loss?

The underlying cause of this kind of hearing loss will largely dictate the course of treatment. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most common question individuals will have. In most cases, yes, your hearing will return to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, 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 certain. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. Likewise, if you suffer from sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how rapidly you receive treatment.

For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so essential. You may then go through a comprehensive hearing screening or assessment to help figure out your symptoms (or at least rule out 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 essential to be sure you watch out for and protect your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing exam 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.