Hearing loss is well recognized 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 watching closely, it can be challenging 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.
A whole assortment of related issues, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s difficult to detect, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Prompt treatment can also help you preserve your present hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to detect the early warning signs as they are present.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be hard to spot
The first indications of hearing loss are usually subtle. You don’t, suddenly, lose a large portion of your hearing. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your day-to-day activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing begins to fade, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow discussions or determine who said what. Maybe you unconsciously start to tilt your head to the right when your hearing begins to go on the left side.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
First signs of age-related hearing loss
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) might be waning because of age, there are some familiar signs you can keep an eye out for:
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This is probably the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s common and often cited. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to monitor (and easy to relate to). You can be sure that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
- You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat themselves: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. In most cases, though, you will do this without even realizing that you are doing it at all. Naturally, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. Some red flags should go up when this begins happening.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to differentiate.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a frequency 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.
- Struggling to hear in loud settings: Picking individual voices in a crowd is one thing that the brain is extremely good at. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become overwhelming. Getting a hearing assessment is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a tough time following along.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, no doubt, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another sign 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.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration power available to accomplish your daily routines. You may find yourself with concentration issues as a result.
- Persistent headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over extended periods can cause chronic headaches.
When you notice any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to figure out whether or not you’re dealing with the early stages of hearing decline. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.