Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Plainsboro and Monroe, NJ

Understanding Hearing Loss During Pregnancy

Princeton Otolaryngology Associates: Dr. Scott L. Kay | Hearing Loss Articles

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 when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be rather uncomfortable, at least in some cases. There are all sorts of peculiar side effects, like morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. None of this takes away from the delight of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.

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

Most individuals don’t instantly connect hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-related hearing loss is actually more common than most people might think. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-associated hearing loss is harmless and insignificant. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could call for swift medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy irreversible? Well, the answer kind of depends on the root cause, and how rapidly you address it.

Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms

Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t appear on many sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. It’s not nearly as cinematic as something like morning sickness. People usually don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.

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

  • Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or in some cases 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 issues if you have a problem with your inner ear. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
  • You feel plugged in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-related hearing loss.
  • Headaches and migraines: You might also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you get on a regular basis.
  • Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is likely the most obvious indication of hearing loss. But a condition known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” comes on abruptly and can be more apparent. You should report any sudden hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as you can. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you may need emergency treatment.
  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is frequently linked to pregnancy-related hearing loss. In some cases, this tinnitus may even sound like or take on the rhythm of your own heartbeat (this is called pulsatile tinnitus). You should consult your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.

These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the root cause of your pregnancy-related 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 plan to talk to your doctor. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be an indication of some rare but larger problems.

The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss

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

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

  • 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 woman 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.
  • High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. And this is, to some extent, why it’s extremely important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are issues that need to be watched carefully throughout your pregnancy.
  • Bone growth: There’s a rare condition called otosclerosis where the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. In pregnant women, this quicker 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 working out exactly how much it affects hearing.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is performing an exceptional amount of work when you get pregnant. As a result, all sorts of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.

In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss may be difficult to identify. Routinely talking to your physician and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.

How do you manage this form of hearing loss?

The underlying cause of this type of hearing loss will largely determine the course of treatment. Will my hearing go back to normal? This is the most common question people will have. In most cases, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or possibly even before.

But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you detect because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. For example, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you could require additional treatment. Similarly, if you suffer from abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how fast you receive treatment.

That’s why it’s so essential to make sure you report these symptoms to your provider. You may then go through a complete hearing screening or assessment to help figure out your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more dangerous possible impacts).

Protect your hearing

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

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