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It’s finally happened. You’re going to have a baby, and you’re so excited. But while you were prepared for the morning sickness and other discomforts of being pregnant, you didn’t expect to have a hard time hearing, too. Is this an odd coincidence, or has getting pregnant caused hearing loss?
What signs should I watch out for?
First, let us reassure you that hearing loss is a somewhat common issue during pregnancy. You may also experience tinnitus, vertigo and other balance issues, a feeling of fullness in the ears, and secretions from the ears. If you do experience these symptoms, let your doctor know.
Otosclerosis and pregnancy
Some people have otosclerosis, a condition where the bones in the middle ear – the hammer, anvil, and stirrup – have grown abnormally. Usually, these bones vibrate and stimulate tiny hairs in the cochlea, which transmit sound waves up the auditory nerve and into the brain. However, when someone has otosclerosis, those three bones are too big to move properly, and that lack of proper vibration can lead to hearing loss.
Typically, otosclerosis affects Caucasian women between the ages of 15 and 45, although many women will see symptoms while in their early 20s. While pregnancy doesn’t cause otosclerosis, hormonal changes can exacerbate the condition, CEENTA Audiologist Allie Tighe, AuD, said.
While it rarely leads to complete deafness, women with this condition might want to consider hearing aids, or even a surgical procedure called a stapedectomy. Your doctor will address your particular needs during your appointment.
Other ways hormones affect hearing
Hormonal changes can also affect the cardiovascular and endocrine systems. These changes can affect circulation, which can affect cochlear fluid, which can then result in hearing loss, CEENTA Audiologist Melissa Horning, AuD, said.
In rare cases, expectant mothers can experience sudden sensorineural hearing loss. In these instances, these women experience sudden deafness. This is a medical emergency and any mothers who experience it should seek medical attention immediately.
How is pregnancy-related hearing loss treated?
Because each case is different, and out of caution for your unborn baby’s health, your doctor will consider the type and severity of your hearing loss before determining a treatment plan.
Many people are going to offer you their congratulations when they learn you’re pregnant, and we want to make sure you hear all of them. If you have any hearing issues, don’t hesitate to make an appointment at CEENTA.
This blog is for informational purposes only. For specific medical questions, please consult your physician. Dr. Horning practices in our SouthPark office. Dr. Tighe practices in Rock Hill and Fort Mill. If you would like to make an appointment with them or any audiologist in our North or South Carolina offices, call 704-295-3000. You can also request an appointment online or through myCEENTAchart.
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