Hearing Loss While You’re Pregnant

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

It’s an amazing and incredible experience, having a child. But it can also be kind of… uncomfortable, at least at times, and at least when it involves how it can make you feel. There’s the morning sickness, the difference in your body, the health hazards, and all kinds of strange side effects. Getting there can be somewhat of a process, but that doesn’t take anything away from the joy of being a parent.

And now there’s another potential small drawback to add to the list: hearing loss.

Most individuals don’t instantly associate hearing loss with pregnancy. But pregnancy-induced hearing loss is actually more prevalent than most individuals might presume. It’s not a bad idea to watch out for these symptoms. In some cases, the cause of pregnancy-induced hearing loss is innocuous and banal. Sadly, sometimes the cause is a more serious problem that could require swift medical attention. Will pregnancy-related hearing loss subside? Well, it could be, depending on how rapidly you treat it and what the underlying cause is.

What are the symptoms of pregnancy-related hearing loss?

You typically won’t hear about pregnancy-induced hearing loss in pop-culture. Things like morning sickness are much more cinematic. People generally don’t expect pregnancy-related hearing loss, because of this. So knowing what to look out for can be helpful.

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

  • Dizziness and imbalance: In many cases, pregnancy-induced hearing loss can impact the inner ear (or, in some situations, whatever is affecting the inner ear is also causing hearing loss). Whenever your inner ear is not working correctly, you may experience problems with balance and dizziness accompanying your hearing loss. And that also applies to pregnancy-induced hearing loss.
  • You feel plugged in your ears: Pregnancy-induced hearing loss may in some cases be accompanied by a feeling of stuffiness or fullness in your ears.
  • Everything seems quieter: Certainly, this is likely the most apparent sign of hearing loss. But if it happens all of a sudden, it’s something called “sudden sensorineural hearing loss”. Any form of abrupt hearing loss during pregnancy should be conveyed to your healthcare team as soon as you can. In order to stop sudden hearing loss from becoming permanent, you might need emergency treatment.
  • Tinnitus: A ringing in your ears, known as 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 doctor about what you’re feeling.
  • Headaches and migraines: You might also experience an increase in the number of headaches or migraines you have regularly.

None of these symptoms are fundamentally universal. Depending on the underlying cause of your pregnancy-related hearing loss, you might experience some symptoms but maybe not others. In any case, if you experience hearing loss or any of the associated symptoms while you are pregnant, it’s generally a good plan to talk to your doctor. That’s because these symptoms can sometimes be an indication of some rare but bigger problems.

The causes of pregnancy-related hearing loss

Does being pregnant impact hearing? Well, perhaps, sometimes. But other parts of your body are affected by pregnancy and those parts of your body can then affect your hearing.

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

  • Some of the typical things: If you get an ear infection, a sinus infection, or any type of blockage in your ear (such as earwax), this can cause hearing loss whether you’re pregnant or not.
  • High blood pressure: Hearing loss and tinnitus can be the outcome of high blood pressure which can be caused by pregnancy. And this is, to some extent, why it’s very important to tell your doctor about your hearing loss. High blood pressure can be a symptom of preeclampsia and other severe conditions. Throughout pregnancy, these problems should be monitored.
  • An iron deficiency: Your health, and the health of your baby, can both be affected in lots of ways by an iron deficiency. Hearing loss can sometimes be one of those impacts for the pregnant woman.
  • Bone growth: There’s a rare condition known as otosclerosis in which the tiny bones in your ear begin growing more quickly, and this accelerated growth prevents sound from passing 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 working out exactly how much it affects hearing.
  • Changes in your circulatory system (and hormones): Your body is performing an extraordinary amount of work when you become pregnant. Your hormones and circulatory system are going through lots of changes, as a result.

In some cases, the cause of your hearing loss just won’t be all that well understood. Regularly talking to your doctor and keeping track of your symptoms is the key here.

How is this type of hearing loss managed?

Treatment of this kind of hearing loss will likely depend on the root cause. The question that many people have is: will my hearing return to normal? 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 essential to be aggressive when you notice symptoms. For example, if bone growth is obstructing your ear canal, you may require additional treatment. Similarly, if you experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss, the outcome will depend on how rapidly you receive treatment.

For this reason, reporting any symptoms to your physician is so essential. The next step will probably be a thorough hearing evaluation to eliminate any more serious conditions and try to diagnose the inherent cause.

Protect your hearing

Protecting your hearing is something you need to pay attention to particularly when you’re pregnant. One of the best ways to do that is to stay in touch with us and with your care team. Schedule a hearing examination with us right away.

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.