Pregnancy is often an exciting time for expectant parents; however, the side effects can be exhausting. Not only can you feel fatigued, nauseous and swollen, but you may also experience audiological symptoms like hearing loss and tinnitus. Tinnitus, in particular, affects about one in three pregnant women, compared to one in 10 women who aren’t pregnant.
In addition, one 2020 study published in the Journal of Otology reports, “The alteration of [hormones] in pregnant women can lead to several otological manifestations, including eustachian tube dysfunction, hearing impairment, otitis externa, Bell’s palsy, vertigo and tinnitus.”
We review some of the ways pregnancy is linked to hearing loss and tinnitus below.
High Blood Pressure
The sensory cells within your inner ears, called stereocilia, are extremely sensitive to changes in blood flow. So, if your blood pressure changes during pregnancy, it can affect your hearing.
You should know that high blood pressure in pregnant women is very dangerous, as it could indicate serious conditions such as preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome, which are medical emergencies for both the mother and baby.
If you’re experiencing audiological symptoms like hearing loss or tinnitus, let your medical provider know immediately, as it could be a sign of these conditions.
If you’re pregnant, you have an elevated risk of developing is iron-deficiency anemia. A lack of iron in your diet means your red blood cells can’t carry oxygen to your auditory system as effectively, which can also contribute to hearing loss and tinnitus.
You can take your prenatal vitamins while you’re pregnant to prevent this condition. In addition, you should eat iron-rich foods from the Georgia’s Farmer’s Market in Plano, such as nuts, dried fruit, wholemeal pasta and bread, legumes, dark/leafy vegetables, oats and tofu.
Headaches & Migraines
If you are already prone to headaches or migraines, unfortunately, you’re more likely to experience these conditions during pregnancy. Migraines, in particular, are also linked to changes in hearing sensitivity, tinnitus and even balance problems.
Be sure to talk to your doctor if your headaches or migraines are getting worse, so they can review treatment options with you.
For more information about the link between pregnancy and otological conditions, or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Sharp Hearing – The Audiology Center today.