Hearing Loss While You’re Pregnant

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

Of course, pregnancy is amazing and incredible. But in terms of how it can make you feel, it can be pretty unpleasant, at least sometimes. There’s the morning sickness, the changes to your body, the health challenges, and all kinds of weird side effects. Getting there can be a bit of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the happiness of being a parent.

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

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 people may presume. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-associated hearing loss is innocuous and banal. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and might require immediate medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, the answer kind of depends on the underlying cause, and how quickly you address it.

Pregnancy-related hearing loss symptoms

You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. It’s not nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. People typically don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So, it may be helpful to know what to look out for.

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

  • Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently associated with 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 physician about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
  • Headaches and migraines: You may also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have regularly.
  • A feeling of fullness in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears often accompanies pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
  • Everything seems quieter: Sure, this is likely the most obvious indication of hearing loss. But if it happens suddenly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to convey any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your physician as soon as possible. You might require emergency treatment to stop the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.
  • 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 cause of that hearing loss. Your hearing loss may be accompanied by dizziness and balance issues if you have an issue with your inner ear. And that also goes for pregnancy-induced hearing loss.

None of these symptoms are necessarily universal. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you may experience some symptoms but not others. In any event, 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 problems.

The causes of pregnancy-induced hearing loss

Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? Well, perhaps, sometimes. 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-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Here are several of the most common causes:

  • Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be blocked by a disorder called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. In pregnant individuals, this faster bone growth might be caused by changes in your hormones or other changes in your body. Otoscerlosis research is still a continuing process, and scientists are still figuring 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 woman who is pregnant.
  • Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, common things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
  • High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. These are problems that need to be watched carefully throughout your pregnancy.
  • Hormone and circulatory changes: When you become pregnant, your body is doing an extreme amount of work. As a consequence, all kinds of changes are happening, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.

In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well understood. Regularly 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 root cause of this type of hearing loss will largely determine the course of treatment. The question that most people have is: will my hearing loss clear up? Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should go back to normal, or maybe even sooner.

However, this is not always the default, so it’s important to be aggressive when you observe symptoms. For instance, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you could require additional treatment. Similarly, if you experience abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the results will depend on how rapidly you receive treatment.

For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your physician is so important. The next step will most likely be a comprehensive hearing evaluation to rule out any more serious 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 sure you pay attention to and protect your hearing. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Give us a call today to set up a hearing evaluation.

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.