Tinnitus, such as ringing, buzzing, humming, and swooshing in the ear, is more prevalent during pregnancy than in the general population.
Around one in three pregnant women experience tinnitus. Which is significantly higher than the frequency among non-pregnant women of the same age group (one in ten). Additionally, approximately two out of three women who have previously had tinnitus notice an exacerbation of symptoms during pregnancy, particularly between the second and third trimesters (around four to six months).
What causes the link between pregnancy and tinnitus?
During the hearing process, the cochlea in the inner ear converts sound waves into electrical signals that travel to the brain through the auditory nerve. However, pregnancy can cause physical changes that interfere with this process and lead to the perception of tinnitus.
One potential cause of tinnitus during pregnancy is increased blood volume and blood pressure, which is a normal change in expecting mothers. The inner ear is surrounded by important blood vessels, and the increased pressure can affect the fluid inside the cochlea. This fluid is responsible for regulating the electrical signals sent to the brain. Any changes in pressure can result in alterations to these signals and the perception of tinnitus.
Water retention and swelling?
One possible cause of tinnitus throughout pregnancy is the natural body retention of water and salt, which can cause localized swelling. If this swelling affects the tissues around the cochlea, it can alter the electrical stimulants between the ear and brain, leading to tinnitus.
Changes in estrogen levels and progesterone in the body can also contribute to tinnitus. These changes can affect the activity of nerve cells in the inner ear, leading to the development or worsening of tinnitus.
High Blood Pressure
In addition, tinnitus may be an early warning sign of gestational hypertension or pre-eclampsia, both of which are serious pregnancy complications that can cause high blood pressure. While not everyone with high blood pressure experiences tinnitus, seeing a doctor immediately is important if you suspect your blood pressure is high, especially during pregnancy.
During pregnancy, women are more susceptible to developing iron-deficiency anemia. Insufficient iron consumption can lead to various symptoms such as tinnitus and hearing loss. It is essential to ensure that your prenatal vitamin has adequate iron content and to purchase iron-rich foods such as red meat, turkey, spinach, legumes, broccoli, and dark chocolate
Migraines cause sound sensitivity and put you at an increased risk of developing tinnitus. According to scientific research, it is possible that a heightened state of sensitivity might be associated with this potential correlation, although there could be other contributing factors. Talk to your doctor if you experience frequent migraines or tinnitus.
The immune system becomes suppressed during pregnancy, making women more likely to catch a virus as well as experience allergy symptoms. This can then trigger migraines, tinnitus, and ear infections
What does it sound like?
During pregnancy, tinnitus may occur that coincides with the pulse or heartbeat rhythm, known as pulsatile tinnitus. Hearing may also be muffled with a loud whooshing sound. This can indicate high blood pressure, which may develop during pregnancy. It must be monitored and treated by a qualified pregnancy care provider.
Talk to your provider
Temporary hearing loss and tinnitus during pregnancy can be challenging. Seek regular prenatal care and discuss concerns with your healthcare provider. Sudden hearing loss or pulsing tinnitus requires prompt medical attention. Pay attention to any changes in hearing and discuss with your healthcare provider.