Understanding Hearing Loss During Pregnancy

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

Sure, pregnancy is amazing and fantastic. But it can also be kind of… uncomfortable, at least sometimes, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. There are all kinds of strange side effects, including morning sickness, health challenges, and changes to your body. None of this takes away from the happiness 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.

Pregnancy isn’t usually the first thing you think of when somebody is talking about hearing loss. So it might be a surprise to learn that pregnancy-related hearing loss is rather prevalent. It’s not a bad idea to watch out for these symptoms. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-related hearing loss is innocuous and banal. In other cases, the cause is a serious issue and could require immediate medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss go away? Well, it could be, depending on how fast you treat it and what the root cause is.

Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms

You usually won’t hear about pregnancy-related hearing loss in pop-culture. It isn’t nearly as cinematic as things 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.

Pregnancy-related hearing loss goes beyond just cranking the volume up on your devices, after all. Here are some of the most common:

  • Everything seems quieter: Of course, this indication of hearing loss is the most evident. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs abruptly and can be more noticeable. You should report any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as you can. In order to prevent sudden hearing loss from becoming irreversible, you might require emergency treatment.
  • Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more consistent.
  • You feel a fullness in your ears: Pregnancy-related hearing loss might in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of being plugged or fullness in your ears.
  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as tinnitus, is often associated with pregnancy-related hearing loss. The rhythm and sound of your tinnitus symptoms can, in some circumstances, sound like your own heartbeat which is called “pulsatile tinnitus”. Whether this tinnitus exists by itself or with hearing loss, it’s worth consulting your doctor about what you’re feeling.
  • Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be affected by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or sometimes a pre-existing problem with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear isn’t functioning properly, you might have issues with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. And that also goes for pregnancy-related hearing loss.

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

The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss

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

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

  • Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is performing an exceptional amount of work when you become pregnant. As a result, all kinds of changes are afoot, both with respect to your hormones and your circulatory system.
  • High blood pressure: While you’re pregnant, high blood pressure can trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. So telling your physician about your hearing loss symptoms is very important. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe conditions. Throughout pregnancy, these issues should be monitored.
  • Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like obstructions, sinus infections, and ear infections can cause hearing loss.
  • An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be impacted in lots of ways by an iron deficiency. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
  • Bone growth: There’s a rare affliction known as otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more rapidly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing through your ears. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this type of bone growth. It should be noted that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and just how much it affects hearing, is continuing.

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

How is this form of hearing loss treated?

The root cause of this kind of hearing loss will generally determine the course of treatment. The question that most individuals have is: will my hearing return to normal? In most cases, yes, your hearing will return to normal once you’re no longer pregnant, or possibly even before.

However, this is not always the situation, so it’s important to be aggressive when you detect symptoms. For example, if bone growth is blocking your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. The results will also depend on how quickly you get treatment when it comes to abrupt sensorineural hearing loss.

For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your doctor is so important. You may then undergo a complete hearing screening or assessment to help figure out 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 essential to be sure you pay attention to and safeguard your hearing. One of the best ways to do that is to remain in touch with us and with your care team. Schedule a hearing examination with us as soon as possible.

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.