Hearing loss is well known to be a process that progresses gradually. It can be rather insidious for this very reason. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in giant leaps but rather in tiny steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be challenging to track the decrease in your hearing. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
Even though it’s difficult to spot, dealing with hearing loss early can help you prevent a wide range of associated conditions, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Prompt treatment can also help you preserve your present hearing levels. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
It can be challenging to notice early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a major portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your day-to-day lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can make use of other clues to figure out what people are saying. Maybe you unconsciously start to tilt your head to the right when your hearing starts to go on the left side.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) might be failing because of age, there are some familiar signs you can keep an eye out for:
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to distinguish.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a frequency that becomes progressively difficult to differentiate as your hearing worsens. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
- Elevated volume on devices: This is probably the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s classic and often cited. But it’s also very noticeable and trackable. You can be certain that your hearing is starting to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
- Struggling to hear in loud settings: Picking out individual voices in a crowd is one thing that the brain is quite good at. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing worsens. Hearing in a busy room can quickly become overwhelming. If following these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself opting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth having your ears tested.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This may be surprising. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. When you have a challenging time hearing something, you might request some repetition. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags about your ears.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
A few subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they don’t have anything at all to do with your hearing. These signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Persistent headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over extended periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Difficulty focusing: It may be hard to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day tasks if your brain has to invest more resources to hearing. You might find yourself with concentration issues as a consequence.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. It seems like it would be easier to fall asleep when it’s quiet, but you go into a chronic state of restless alertness when you’re constantly straining to hear.
When you observe any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to determine whether or not you are dealing with the early stages of hearing decline. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.