Understanding Hearing Loss During Pregnancy

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 sometimes, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. There are all sorts of strange side effects, including morning sickness, health hazards, and changes to your body. None of this detracts from the joy of being a parent… but it’s a whole undertaking to get there.

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

Pregnancy isn’t usually the first thing you think of when someone is talking about hearing loss. But pregnancy-related hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most people might presume. This means that these symptoms are worth watching out for. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-associated hearing loss is harmless and banal. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could call for swift medical treatment. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss clear up? Well, the answer sort of depends on the underlying cause, and how fast you treat it.

Pregnancy-induced hearing loss symptoms

Hearing loss during pregnancy doesn’t make an appearance on a lot of 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, it may be helpful to know what to watch out for.

Pregnancy-related hearing loss is about more than just turning up the volume on your devices, after all. The most common symptoms include the following:

  • You feel plugged in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss might sometimes be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
  • Dizziness and imbalance: The inner ear can be impacted by pregnancy-induced hearing loss, or in some cases a pre-existing problem with the inner ear can be the cause of that hearing loss. Whenever your inner ear is not working properly, you may have issues with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. Pregnancy-related hearing loss is no exception.
  • Headaches and migraines: Regular headaches and migraines can also be more frequent.
  • Tinnitus: Pregnancy-related hearing loss is frequently associated with 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”. You should talk to your doctor about your tinnitus, whether hearing loss is also present or not.
  • Everything seems quieter: Of course, this symptom of hearing loss is the most evident. But a condition called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss” occurs suddenly and can be more obvious. You should report any abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy to your doctor as soon as possible. You may require emergency treatment to prevent the sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent.

None of these symptoms are inevitably universal. You will most likely experience some symptoms and not others depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss. In any case, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s usually a good idea to talk to your doctor. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be an indication of some rare but larger issues.

What causes pregnancy-related hearing loss?

Does being pregnant impact hearing? In some cases, possibly. But being pregnant might 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 prevalent causes:

  • Some of the typical things: Whether you’re pregnant or not, typical things like blockages, sinus infections, and ear infections can trigger hearing loss.
  • An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your child, can both be affected in a wide variety of ways by an iron deficiency. One of those impacts can sometimes be hearing loss in the person who is pregnant.
  • Hormone and circulatory changes: Your body is performing an extraordinary 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.
  • Bone growth: The ability for sound to pass through your ears can be obstructed by a disorder called otosclerosis which causes the tiny bones in your ear to grow too fast. Pregnancy causes hormonal changes and other body changes that can lead to this type of bone growth. It should be mentioned that research into otosclerosis during pregnancy, and just how much it impacts hearing, is continuing.
  • High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome 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 ailments. These are issues that need to be tracked carefully throughout your pregnancy.

In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss simply won’t be all that well understood. Routinely consulting your doctor and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.

How is this type of hearing loss treated?

The underlying cause of this form of hearing loss will generally dictate the course of treatment. The question that most people have is: will my hearing return to normal? Once your pregnancy is over, your hearing should go back to normal, or maybe even sooner.

But it’s also important to get treatment for any symptoms you observe because getting your hearing back isn’t always certain. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you might require additional treatment. Likewise, if you suffer from abrupt sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how quickly you receive treatment.

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

Protect your hearing

Protecting your hearing is something you should watch out for particularly when you’re pregnant. Getting regular evaluations with us is one of the best ways to do that. Schedule a hearing exam 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.