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Hearing Loss After Pregnancy

Mother Goes Deaf After Giving Birth

By Laura Hibbard, The Huffington Post, 11/18/11

What was supposed to be a joyous day for Heather Simonsen turned terrifying when, according to a report from Utah's KSL, she lost her sense of hearing just after giving birth to her child.

At her doctor's recommendation, Simonsen went to see a surgeon at the University of Utah where she learned the cause of her sudden deafness: a rare condition known as Otosclerosis.

"I could tell they were talking to me, but I could not hear them at all," she told the station. "I could tell that they were speaking more loudly, but I could not understand what they were saying."

Otosclerosis is a condition involving an overgrowth of bone in the space behind the eardrum and the inner ear. Ringing in the ears and dizziness are other symptoms that often accompany the condition. Although the cause of otosclerosis is unknown, it occurs in women twice as often as in men, and usually between the ages of 11 and 30. Additionally, symptoms appear to get worse during pregnancy, a property of the condition that still puzzles doctors.

"We don't know why it happens more with pregnancy, but we have found a relation with, for whatever reason, in patients who already have the problem of hearing loss, it seems to be accelerated during pregnancy," University of Utah's Dr. Kevin Wilson told KSL.

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