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Tinnitus during pregnancy

Can pregnancy cause ringing in the ears?

Tinnitus is an auditory disorder that manifests in intermittent sounds like ringing in the ears. Some women, during pregnancy, often perceive this annoying ringing in the ears, even if they have never previously suffered from tinnitus. Let's explore possible causes and treatments.

How common is ringing in the ears during pregnancy?

According to the British Tinnitus Association, incidences of tinnitus increase during pregnancy. Approximately one in three pregnant women suffer from tinnitus, compared to one in ten women in the same age group who are not pregnant. Moreover, according to the study "Ringing in my ears: tinnitus in pregnancy," tinnitus is the most common ear symptom experienced by women during pregnancy.

In pregnant women, tinnitus usually lasts throughout the pregnancy and resolves itself after the baby is born.

According to the British Tinnitus Association, two in three women who have tinnitus before pregnancy report an increase in their tinnitus during pregnancy, especially during the middle trimester (months four to six).

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If you experience tinnitus, don’t hesitate to speak with your doctor or hearing care specialist about how you can best manage the symptoms.

Symptoms of tinnitus and pulsatile tinnitus during pregnancy

Tinnitus during pregnancy can appear as a broad range of sounds, often described as ringing or buzzing inside the ear. Some women, during pregnancy, report that it sounds like being able to hear a heartbeat in the ear, which is called pulsatile tinnitus. Often these symptoms are accompanied by a reduced hearing capacity, plugged ears and a loud continuous hissing.

Causes of ringing in the ears during pregnancy

In most cases, tinnitus during pregnancy is caused by the hormonal and circulatory system changes that occur during pregnancy. More rarely, hearing problems during pregnancy can be due to various medical causes, such as:

Tinnitus in pregnancy is mainly caused by high blood pressure and hormonal changes. Blood pressure and the level of endolymph present in the inner ear are the main physiological factors that cause tinnitus. During pregnancy, the expectant mother's body undergoes changes that can affect blood circulation and fluid pressure, creating a condition of hypertension: blood pressure increases, and consequently, the woman is more prone to tinnitus.

Hormonal changes in pregnant women can also cause tinnitus or ringing in the ears. Progesterone, the hormone that prepares the uterus for the embryo, stimulates the supply of blood vessels and influences blood pressure throughout the body, therefore also in the ear, causing tinnitus.

Pregnant women are also at an increased risk of iron-deficiency anemia. Anemia is a condition in which you lack enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body’s tissues. This deficiency can cause the protective sheath around the nerves to deteriorate, leading to a dysfunction in nerve communication and several symptoms, including the ringing in the ears typical of tinnitus.

The immune system becomes suppressed during pregnancy, sometimes leading to ear infections, like otitis media or swimmer’s ear. Ear infections can then trigger tinnitus and hearing loss. These ear infections may trigger a temporary perception of low-pitched tinnitus, similar to the sound when you place a shell on your ear and hear the sound of the sea.

Pregnancy is a time that brings so much joy but can also be stressful. Examples include difficulty sleeping and frequent headaches. All these factors can potentially trigger tinnitus in pregnant women.

Migraines sometimes don’t just present as headaches but also with hearing symptoms like ear pressure and tinnitus. Moreover, as stress levels increase, so does the likelihood of repercussions on the hearing system. This is why it is not uncommon to observe an increase in cases of stress-induced tinnitus and ringing in the ears.

In most pregnant women, tinnitus is a transient disorder that can have an annoying but manageable impact on the quality of life. In rarer cases, however, tinnitus in pregnancy can be a symptom of blood pressure problems and preeclampsia. High blood pressure during pregnancy can become a disease called preeclampsia.

It is a risky condition because, if left untreated, it can evolve into eclampsia, with very serious consequences for the mother and baby, such as premature birth. Fortunately, statistics say that, with regular checkups and some precautions, only a small percentage of mothers-to-be with hypertension during pregnancy will have problems with eclampsia.

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How to handle and reduce ringing in ears during pregnancy

The first step in dealing with tinnitus during pregnancy is not to stress. Hearing a constant ringing in the ears can be annoying, especially when added to all the other symptoms and changes occurring in a woman’s body. However, it is important to remember that tinnitus during pregnancy tends to disappear after the baby is born. Being serene not only helps expectant mothers and their babies but also decreases the likelihood of tinnitus itself. In fact, states of anxiety and stress can trigger tinnitus.

The second step is to adopt a healthier lifestyle by eating lots of fruit and vegetables and increasing water consumption.

Finally, you can relieve tinnitus discomfort during pregnancy by listening to a playlist of white noise or nature sounds, which help mask the annoying ringing. In addition, white noise has a calming and relaxing effect even on the baby. If tinnitus persists even months after pregnancy, then it is better for you to contact a hearing specialist.

Does tinnitus affect your pregnancy?

The most important news is that, fortunately, unless tinnitus is a symptom of preeclampsia, ringing in the ears can be annoying but will have no negative effect on pregnancy. It can have irritating side effects, such as increased stress or trouble sleeping, but if you try to deal with it calmly, you will manage to handle it without further problems.

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Another treatment option is a hearing aid for tinnitus. These hearing aids produce a sound that masks the sound of tinnitus. Discover Miracle-Ear product range of hearing aids and get advice on the best ones for you according to your specific needs!

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