It’s often said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. It can be rather subtle for this exact reason. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in big leaps but rather in little steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your ears challenging to keep track of, especially if you aren’t looking for it. For this reason, it’s important to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s hard to detect, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide range of related conditions, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Prompt treatment can also help you safeguard your current hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
Early signs of hearing loss can be difficult to spot
The first indications of hearing loss tend to be elusive. It’s not like you get up one morning and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your everyday lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are extremely adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can use other clues to figure out what people are saying. Likewise, if your left ear begins to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to pick up the slack and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can accomplish.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) may be failing as a result of age, there are some common signs you can watch out for:
- You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat themselves: This may be surprising. But, often, you won’t realize you’re doing it. When you have a hard time hearing something, you may request some repetition. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- Increased volume on devices: This is perhaps the single most recognized sign of hearing loss. It’s classically known and mentioned. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to monitor (and easy to relate to). If you’re continuously turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds now: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a frequency that becomes progressively difficult to differentiate as your hearing fades. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
- A hard time hearing in busy spaces: One thing your brain is amazingly good at is following individual voices in a busy room. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a busy room can quickly become overwhelming. Having a hearing examination is the best option if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you may have less concentration power available to accomplish your everyday routines. As a result, you might observe some trouble focusing.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. It seems as if it would be easier to fall asleep when it’s quiet, but you go into a chronic state of restless alertness when you’re always straining to hear.
- Chronic 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.
It’s a good idea to give us a call for a hearing assessment if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss develops gradually. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.