Hearing Loss While You’re Pregnant

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

Of course, pregnancy is awesome and fantastic. But it can also be kind of… unpleasant, at least at times, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. 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 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 people don’t instantly associate hearing loss with pregnancy. So it might be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather prevalent. It’s not a bad plan to keep an eye out for these symptoms. In some cases, the source of pregnancy-related hearing loss is innocuous and insignificant. In other cases, the cause is a serious concern and could call for immediate medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, it could be, depending on how fast you address it and what the underlying cause is.

Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms

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

Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond simply turning up the volume on your devices, after all. The most prevalent symptoms include the following:

  • Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
  • Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-related hearing loss can impact the inner ear (or, in some instances, whatever is impacting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear is not working properly, you might experience issues with balance and dizziness with your hearing loss. And that also applies to pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
  • Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently linked to tinnitus, or a ringing or buzzing in the ears. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some circumstances, sound like your own heartbeat which is known as “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth talking to your care team about what you’re feeling.
  • Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most obvious. But if it occurs suddenly, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any type of sudden hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as possible. You may require emergency treatment to prevent the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
  • A plugged feeling in your ears: A feeling of fullness in the ears frequently accompanies pregnancy-induced hearing loss.

These aren’t universal symptoms. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but not others. In any event, if you experience hearing loss or any of the related symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s usually a good idea to talk to your provider. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be an indication of some rare but bigger issues.

What causes pregnancy-related 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 impact your hearing.

So how can pregnancy-related hearing loss possibly be caused? Well, the causes vary… but some of the most common include:

  • Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
  • Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be blocked by a condition called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. In pregnant individuals, this faster bone growth may be caused by alterations in your hormones or other changes in your body. It should be noted that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and exactly how much it affects hearing, is continuing.
  • An iron deficiency: An iron deficiency while you’re pregnant can have a wide variety of consequences for your health and your baby’s health. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant woman.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is doing an exceptional amount of work when you get pregnant. As a result, all sorts of changes are happening, both in terms of your hormones and your circulatory system.
  • High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be brought about by pregnancy. And this is, to some extent, why it’s really important to tell your provider about your hearing loss. Serious conditions, including preeclampsia, can cause high blood pressure. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be monitored.

In some situations, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well understood. Routinely talking to your physician and keeping an eye on your symptoms is the key here.

How is this type of hearing loss managed?

The root cause of this form of hearing loss will largely dictate the course of treatment. Will my hearing return to normal? This is the most prevalent question people will have. Once your pregnancy has ended, your hearing should return to normal, or maybe even sooner.

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

For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so essential. You may then undergo a comprehensive hearing screening or evaluation to help figure out your symptoms (or at least rule out any of the more severe possible impacts).

Protect your hearing

Protecting your hearing is something you should pay attention to 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.