Although pregnancy is often an exciting time, the side effects can be exhausting. Not only can you feel fatigued, swollen and nauseous, but you may also experience hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing or other phantom noise in the ears). Tinnitus, in particular, affects about one in three pregnant women, compared to one in 10 women who aren’t pregnant.
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.”
In this post, we review some of the ways pregnancy is linked to otological issues.
High Blood Pressure
The sensory cells within your inner ears are extremely sensitive to changes in blood flow. This is why, if your blood pressure changes during pregnancy, it can affect your hearing.
It’s important to note that high blood pressure in pregnant women is very dangerous, as it could indicate preeclampsia or HELLP syndrome, which are medical emergencies for both the mother and baby.
If you’re experiencing hearing problems like hearing loss or tinnitus, let your medical provider know immediately, as it could be a sign of something serious.
Pregnant women have an elevated risk of developing 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, leading to otological problems.
Take your prenatal vitamins while you’re pregnant to prevent this condition. You should also eat iron-rich foods from the Chelmsford Farmers Market on Academy Street, such as nuts, dried fruit, wholemeal pasta and bread, legumes, dark/leafy vegetables, oats and tofu.
Headaches & Migraines
For those who are already prone to headaches or migraines, you’re unfortunately more likely to experience them during pregnancy. These conditions are also linked to hearing loss, tinnitus and even balance problems.
Talk to your doctor if your headaches or migraines are getting worse, so they can review treatment options with you.
To learn more about the link between pregnancy and otological conditions, or to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call Massachusetts Hearing Group today.