Irish Journal of Medical Science

, Volume 180, Issue 1, pp 79–84

Sudden (reversible) sensorineural hearing loss in pregnancy

Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11845-010-0525-z

Cite this article as:
Kenny, R., Patil, N. & Considine, N. Ir J Med Sci (2011) 180: 79. doi:10.1007/s11845-010-0525-z



Sudden hearing loss directly associated with pregnancy or birth is a little known and rare occurrence. The temporary, unilateral, low-frequency sensorineural hearing loss in this case was reported after the birth of the patient’s first child, and again during the third trimester of her second pregnancy.


This paper discusses the different explanations as to why hearing losses occur due to physical changes within the body during pregnancy and birth. It is probable that this patient had significant anatomical asymmetry with one patent and one non-patent cochlear aqueduct, allowing increased pressure unilaterally. The mechanical restriction of the inner ear hair cells caused the hearing loss that returned to normal, when the pressure returned to normal.


Our case demonstrates that pregnancy can lead to hearing loss in two sequential pregnancies. Mechanisms are discussed in detail. Clinically it appears that the hearing loss and tinnitus associated with pregnancy can spontaneously recover.


Pregnancy Unilateral Sensory neural Hearing loss Endolymphatic pressure 

Copyright information

© Royal Academy of Medicine in Ireland 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AudiologySligo General HospitalSligoIreland
  2. 2.Department of ENTSligo General HospitalSligoIreland

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