It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s why it can be quite pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in giant leaps but rather in little steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your hearing difficult to keep track of, particularly if you aren’t watching for it. That’s why recognizing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
A whole variety of related issues, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s difficult to notice, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Timely treatment can also help you maintain your present hearing levels. Noticing the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be difficult to identify
The first indications of hearing loss tend to be elusive. You don’t, suddenly, lose a large portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your everyday lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow discussions 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.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) might be waning because of age, there are some common signs you can watch out for:
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This is probably the single most recognized indication of hearing loss. It’s classically known and mentioned. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to track (and easy to relate to). You can be sure that your hearing is starting to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
- A hard time hearing in crowded spaces: One thing your brain is amazingly good at is following individual voices in a busy room. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing worsens. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s happening in a busy space. 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 assessed.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. In most cases, though, you will do this without even recognizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a difficult time hearing something, you might request some repetition. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to differentiate.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes increasingly difficult to discern as your hearing fades. The same is true of other consonants as well, but you should especially pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
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.
- 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 prolonged periods can cause chronic headaches.
- Difficulty focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration energy available to accomplish your daily routines. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a consequence.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. You might think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
It’s a smart plan to get in touch with us for a hearing exam if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can develop treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.