It’s often said that hearing loss is a gradual process. It can be rather subtle for this exact reason. Your hearing gets worse not in giant leaps but by little steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your ears challenging to track, especially if you aren’t looking for it. For this reason, it’s important to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
A whole variety of related problems, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so although it’s hard to detect, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Timely treatment can also help you preserve your current hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be hard to detect early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. It isn’t like you get up one morning and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your everyday activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing begins to fade, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow discussions or figure out who said what. Perhaps you unconsciously begin 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
There are some common signs to watch for if you think that you or a family member may be going through the beginning of age associated hearing loss:
- Increased volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is possibly the most well known. It’s classic and often cited. But it’s also extremely noticeable and trackable. If you’re continuously turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to distinguish.: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a frequency that becomes progressively hard to discern as your hearing fades. The same goes for other consonants as well, but you should particularly keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
- You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. Obviously, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags around your hearing.
- Struggling to hear in loud settings: One thing your brain is amazingly good at is following individual voices in a busy space. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become a chore. If following these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself opting out of more conversations than you used to), it’s worth having your ears assessed.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have much to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Difficulty concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you could have less concentration energy available to accomplish your daily routines. You might find yourself with concentration issues as a consequence.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. 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.
- Persistent headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over extended periods can trigger chronic headaches.
When you notice any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to determine whether or not you are dealing with the early stages of hearing impairment. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.