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

Sure, pregnancy is awesome and fantastic. But when it comes to how it can make you feel, it can be rather uncomfortable, at least sometimes. There are all kinds of strange side effects, like morning sickness, health challenges, and changes to your body. None of this detracts from the happiness of being a parent… but it’s a whole process to get there.

And now there’s another possible little disadvantage to add to the list: hearing loss.

Most individuals don’t immediately connect hearing loss with pregnancy. So it might be surprising to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather prevalent. This means that these symptoms are worth keeping on your radar. Pregnancy-associated hearing loss isn’t something you need to be concerned about in most cases. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and may require immediate medical attention. Is hearing loss during pregnancy permanent? Well, it could be, depending on how fast you address it and what the root cause is.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy-induced hearing loss?

Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t show up on a lot of sitcoms or in very many romantic comedies. It’s not nearly as cinematic as things like morning sickness. This means that, generally, individuals may be less likely to expect pregnancy-related hearing loss. So knowing what to watch out for can be helpful.

After all, the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss are about more than cranking up the volume on your television. Here are a few of the most common:

  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, called tinnitus, is frequently 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 known as “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your care team about what you’re feeling.
  • You feel a fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss might sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
  • Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is probably the most evident sign of hearing loss. But if it happens all of a sudden, it’s something known as “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. You need to convey any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as you can. You might require emergency treatment to prevent the sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible.
  • Headaches and migraines: You may also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have regularly.
  • Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-related hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing issue with the inner ear can be the source of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear is not functioning correctly, you may have issues with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. And that also goes for pregnancy-induced hearing loss.

These aren’t universal symptoms. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-induced hearing loss. Either way, it’s a good idea to talk to your doctor if experience any of these hearing loss symptoms. Because these symptoms could be an indication of a more serious issue.

The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss

Is hearing impacted by pregnancy? In some cases, possibly. But being pregnant might also affect other parts of your body that will then go on to affect your hearing.

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

  • Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction called otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear start growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth blocks the ability of sound to pass through your ears. Pregnancy produces hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this type of bone growth. Otoscerlosis research is still an ongoing process, and scientists are still figuring out exactly how much it impacts hearing.
  • Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
  • An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be affected in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those effects for the pregnant person.
  • High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the result of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. So telling your doctor about your hearing loss symptoms is really important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe conditions. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be monitored.
  • Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is doing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are experiencing lots of changes, as a result.

In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss may be hard to identify. The important thing will be to be mindful of your symptoms and be in frequent communication with your provider.

How is this kind of hearing loss managed?

Treatment of this form of hearing loss will usually depend on the root cause. The question that many individuals have is: will my hearing return to normal? In most situations, yes, your hearing will go back to normal once your pregnancy is over, or possibly even before.

But it’s also essential to get treatment for any symptoms you notice because getting your hearing back isn’t always a given. For example, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. The results will also depend on how rapidly you get treatment in the case of sudden sensorineural hearing loss.

That’s why it’s so important to make sure you report these symptoms to your doctor. You might then undergo a complete hearing screening or assessment to help get to the bottom of your symptoms (or at least eliminate any of the more severe possible impacts).

Protect your hearing

Even when you’re pregnant, while you’re managing so many other things, it’s important to be sure you watch out for and safeguard your hearing. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Give us a call today to set up a hearing evaluation.

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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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