Hearing Loss in Pregnancy

Pregnant Women with Hearing Impairment

by | Apr 16, 2018 | Hearing Loss, Patient Resources

Hearing loss is not a problem that affects the elderly. It can affect anyone at any point in their lifetime. It can be an isolating and frustrating condition, especially for those who get it at an earlier age. Hearing impairment can have a detrimental impact on pregnant women who are in need of prenatal care while dealing with a hearing impairment.

Hearing Loss and Pregnancy

The American Journal of Preventive Medicine states that women with hearing loss are more likely to give birth to premature babies or babies with a significantly low body weight at birth. A study explored data of around 18 million infants that were born from 2008 to 2011 in America. Out of all the babies, 10,500 of them were birthed by women who had some form of hearing loss. The study found that these babies were born long before their due date and had significantly lower birth weights compared to those born to women with no hearing problem.

Women with hearing loss often have trouble taking care of their own health, and can also have trouble caring for the health of their baby. Due to their hearing loss, these expectant mothers can have problems communicating effectively with health care practitioners when they face health related problems. Pregnant women with hearing loss are often mistrustful of health care practitioners that have no training in communicating with hearing impaired individuals. Brandeis University conducted a study that found that pregnant women reported being unsatisfied with the health care they are provided and as a result often do not attend their prenatal visits as regularly as women with regular hearing.

Lack of Support

Pregnant women with hearing loss have a lack of support systems and lack appropriate knowledge to identify risks during pregnancy. This is because they are unable to obtain relevant information that is easily accessed by women with regular hearing during their visit to the doctor as well as general exposure to messages for pregnant women in the mass media. Pregnant women who have difficulty hearing also tend to attend fewer prenatal classes such as Lamaze, which would help them prepare for a healthy pregnancy and childbirth.

Health Care and Insurance

Hearing impaired pregnant women are also more likely to have a significantly lower income and thus are often unable to afford appropriate prenatal health care. These women often rely entirely on their Medicaid benefits to help cover the cost of their pregnancy and doctor visits.

It is important to seek timely treatment for any form of hearing impairment, especially if you are pregnant. Having untreated hearing loss not only puts you at risk but also your unborn baby at risk for substandard prenatal care that can endanger their life. Make sure you see a hearing healthcare professional to treat your hearing problems so that you can take good care of yourself and your baby during your pregnancy.

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Dr. Rachael Gehmlich, Au.D., F-AAA, Audiologist

Dr. Rachael Gehmlich is the newest addition to Utah Ear Institute. We are excited to welcome her back to her home town here in Bountiful where she graduated from Bountiful High! She completed her undergraduate degree in Communication Disorders from Brigham Young University, and then earned her Doctorate in Audiology from the University of Utah. Her graduate education includes clinical training right here at Utah Ear Institute as well as Rocky Mountain Hearing and Balance, Intermountain Medical Center, University of Utah Speech Language Hearing Clinic, and Granite School District.

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