Hearing loss is well known to be a process that progresses slowly. That’s part of what can make it rather pernicious. Your hearing gets worse not in big leaps but by tiny steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be hard to measure the decline 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, treating hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide range of related conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also avoid further deterioration with prompt treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to notice the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be difficult to detect early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. It’s not like you wake up one morning and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your everyday activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing starts to fade, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or figure out who said what. Maybe you unconsciously begin to tilt your head to the right when your hearing begins to go on the left side.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can achieve.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
There are some well known signs to watch for if you think that you or a loved one might be experiencing the onset of age related hearing loss:
- You’re asking people to repeat what they said frequently: This may be surprising. In most instances, though, you will do this without even realizing that you are doing it at all. Obviously, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. Some red flags should go up when this begins happening.
- Increased volume on devices: This is perhaps the single most recognized sign of hearing loss. It’s classic and frequently cited. But it’s also very obvious and trackable. You can be sure that your hearing is starting to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
- Straining to hear in noisy environments: One thing your brain is remarkably good at is distinguishing individual voices in a busy room. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s going on in a crowded room. Getting a hearing test is the best option if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to differentiate.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively tough to discern as your hearing worsens. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
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 very much to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Difficulty focusing: It may be difficult to obtain necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day tasks if your brain has to devote more energy to hearing. You may find yourself with concentration issues as a result.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing begins to decrease, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And that extended strain also strains your brain and can translate into chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. It seems like it would be easier to sleep when it’s quiet, but you go into a chronic state of restless alertness when you’re always 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 protect your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.