A mother who panicked when she did not cry her first baby was shocked when she was told that the pregnancy had made her deaf.
Kate Llewellyn-Waters lost 60 percent of her hearing during pregnancy with her first child, Beatrix, who was born in 2013.
A condition called otosclerosis, which can be accelerated by hormones released during pregnancy, caused the small bones in her ears to fuse together.
Mrs. Lllewellyn-Waters then lost another 10 percent of her hearing when her second child, Albert, was born two years later.
Hearing aids were now used to address her dramatic hearing loss. Mrs. Llewellyn-Waters has since discovered the condition of her family.
And she insists that she doesn't have a third child, what doctors have warned, and that she could make her completely deaf.
Kate Llewellyn-Waters from Bath lost 60 percent of her hearing during her pregnancy with Beatrix (photo, shortly after her daughter was born in 2013)
Mrs. Llewellyn-Waters (pictured this year with Beatrix and Albert, now six and five) now relies on hearing aids because corrective surgery can completely destroy her hearing
& # 39; I had no idea that I was deaf, not at all & # 39 ;, said the married mother of two, from Bath.
& # 39; I was pregnant so there were many changes going on and I didn't notice my hearing loss until my husband noticed I didn't hear him either.
& # 39; I was immediately told that it was bone growth – and it would only improve with a risky operation that would probably make me completely deaf.
& # 39; But the changes were so small, I didn't think so, but after giving birth to Beatrix, my hearing was reduced almost immediately.
& # 39; After I had a C-section, I started to panic because I couldn't hear Beatrix crying, but she was crying, I was just deaf. & # 39;
Mrs. Llewellyn-Waters was diagnosed with otosclerosis, with the three small bones deep in the ears becoming larger than normal.
These bones vibrate with sound and transmit sound waves to the inner ear and brain, but in people with otosclerosis the bones melt together and cannot move.
This prevents the sound from traveling properly through the ear and brain, reducing or even completely destroying someone's hearing.
Although its causes are poorly understood, the NHS says it is genetic and that high levels of estrogen released during pregnancy can develop the condition faster.
The menopause can also contribute to the hearing condition, which makes health care a & # 39; fairly general & # 39; cause of hearing loss.
Mrs. Llewellyn-Waters (pictured during Albert's pregnancy in 2015) said she didn't know she was deaf until her husband realized she couldn't hear him, and that she went to a doctor
By the time Mrs. Llewellyn-Waters gave birth to her second child, Albert, she had lost 70 percent of her hearing, leaving her severely deaf (pictured with Beatrix as a baby)
Albert and Beatrix are now older and understand that they should be more patient with their mother, said Mrs. Llewellyn – Waters, because she cannot always hear what they say. She says that the deafness frightens her that she will not hear the children when they call for help
WHAT IS OTOSCLEROSIS?
Otosclerosis is a condition that causes deafness when the small bones in the ear become too large and merge.
These bones are crucial to hearing, because sound waves entering the ear cause them to vibrate, sending signals to the inner ear and brain that interpret the noise.
In patients with otosclerosis, these bones become too large and fuse together, which means that they cannot vibrate properly.
This can reduce a person's hearing or, in rare cases, the bones can become completely solid and leave someone completely deaf.
People usually begin to notice that they have the condition in their 20s and 30s, and the NHS says it's a fairly generalized # 39; cause of hearing loss.
There are no clear figures for how many people in the UK have otosclerosis, but it is believed to affect around three million Americans.
The condition appears to be accelerating in pregnant women or in women going through the menopause.
This is believed to be because high levels of the hormone estrogen are released during these stages of a woman's life and encourage the bones to grow.
People who lose their hearing for otosclerosis can use hearing aids or undergo corrective surgery to reduce bone growth – this is successful for between 80 and 90 percent of people.
& # 39; I discovered that my grandmother had lost all ears in her left ear when she was pregnant with my father, & # 39; said Mrs. Llewellyn-Waters.
& # 39; Now I have the feeling that I have become my grandmother and that I am now slightly older than my years.
& # 39; My hearing has continued to decline and I currently have 70 percent hearing loss.
& # 39; An operation is available, but it can go wrong and lead to complete deafness. & # 39;
According to the NHS, the hearing of people between 80 and 90 percent of cases can be restored.
But for now, Mrs. Llewellyn-Waters relies on hearing aids and the help of her children, now five and six years old, to lead her life as normal.
& # 39; I'm lucky that I can hear a little with my hearing aids & # 39 ;, she said.
& # 39; But before they managed to get them to work, I had to trust lip-reading.
& # 39; My children have learned to be more patient because I cannot always hear them, although my hearing aids are fantastic.
& # 39; I have alarms and surveillance in my children's rooms so that I can hear them when I am downstairs and they are upstairs.
& # 39; We had to learn to adjust and it was a side effect of the pregnancy that I absolutely did not expect. & # 39;
Mrs. Llewellyn-Waters said that being deaf makes her more anxious and worried that she will not hear her children when they ask for help.
And audiologists have told her that they are & # 39; so young & # 39; is to be affected by the condition – although the NHS says people tend to recognize symptoms in their years & # 39; 20 and & # 39; 30.
She added: & # 39; I could be completely deaf if I had a third child, but I don't regret having children for a moment. I will have absolutely no third! & # 39;
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