Pregnancy can open gateways to a number of symptoms, starting with strange cravings, morning sickness, mood swings, nausea, fatigue, back pain, urine incontinence and tinnitus. You may wonder whether this strange-sounding word hints another trouble ahead?
Tinnitus is commonly known as ringing in the ears in the absence of any external source of a sound. This isn’t like the ringing sound you hear if you bang your head—it is often described as hissing, clicking or whistling sound by those who suffer from the condition.
What Causes The ‘Ringing’
The condition has not been understood well—there is not one but many collective reasons behind it. During pregnancy, however, the condition is more common. When around 50 million Americans have been found to suffer some kind of tinnitus, one in every 5 women experience it during pregnancy.
Certain conditions could also trigger tinnitus. For instance, if the mother is exposed to loud noise for prolonged periods, has TMJ disorder (more commonly recognized by clicking/grinding jaw pain) or was on medications before or during pregnancy—even a head injury can cause tinnitus, which could aggravate when the woman becomes pregnant.
Chronic stress and emotional issues like prepartum or postpartum depression could also lead to developing symptoms associated with tinnitus. Sensitivity to surroundings and enhanced senses during pregnancy may increase the risk as well.
Some women even complain of hearing a pulsating sound. Many pregnant women suffering from tinnitus claim of hearing their own heartbeat.
This could be accredited to the 50% increase in the blood volume during pregnancy. In certain conditions, it could lead to high blood pressure, resulting in pulsatile tinnitus, which is why they hear their own heart beating.
There could be other serious reasons behind pulsatile tinnitus. However, the condition is rare and affects only 4% of tinnitus sufferers.
How Can You Cope With Tinnitus
There are no remedies for this condition. Most of the times, the ringing sound goes away on its own or after you give birth. Though tinnitus doesn’t harm the mother or the baby, it could be irritating and disconcerting for the mother.
Here are some steps to help prevent and cope with the problem.
Things To Avoid
First and foremost, the mother should avoid anything that can promote high blood pressure. Reduce or completely avoid sugar, salt, caffeine, alcoholic or fizzy drinks. Stay away from artificial sweeteners or foods containing MSG, which can increase the blood pressure.
Loud noises could trigger tinnitus, stay away from them. Even the sound of a vacuum cleaner or a blender can be enough to bring about the symptoms. Wear ear buds if you can’t avoid loud noises in your vicinity.
Stress could also make the symptoms worse, avoid taking any unnecessarily.
Caution With Herbal Remedies
There are herbal remedies available in the market or online, which claim to provide relief from the condition. However, it is best to consult your doctor before opting for such treatment as the side-effects could harm the baby.
Relaxation exercises like yoga, meditation and breathing exercises can be inculcated into lifestyle to help relieve the condition and restore the normal functioning of the body. It will also promote good health during pregnancy, will help you relax, and bring peace of mind.
Sit in a quiet room and meditate to calm yourself. You could play some soft music in the background and mask the sound you are hearing. Even if it feels difficult, slowly move into a state of relaxation. Practice and gradually extend this time—you will notice the sounds vanishing gradually over time. Don’t lose hope if you aren’t able to soothe yourself for the first few times—keep practicing.
If you aren’t getting any relief and carrying out your daily activities is getting difficult, consult an Eye Nose Throat specialist (ENT) or an otolaryngologist for proper diagnosis of the condition. Sometimes, these could be the warning symptoms your body is giving out, which you definitely shouldn’t ignore.