Hearing loss is well known to be a process that progresses gradually. It can be rather insidious for this exact reason. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in giant leaps but rather in little steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your hearing difficult to track, particularly if you aren’t watching for it. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big help for your ear-defense.
An entire assortment of related issues, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so although it’s difficult to detect, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as you can. You will also protect against additional degeneration with timely treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to notice the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be challenging to observe early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a large portion of your hearing. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your everyday activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can make use of other clues to determine what people are saying. Likewise, if your left ear starts to fade, maybe 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 achieve.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) might be failing as a result of age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to distinguish.: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively tough to differentiate as your hearing worsens. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
- Straining to hear in loud environments: One thing your brain is amazingly good at is following individual voices in a crowded space. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded room can quickly become overwhelming. If hearing these conversations is harder than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth getting your ears tested.
- Increased volume on devices: This is probably the single most well-known 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). You can be sure that your hearing is starting to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock. In most situations, though, you will do this without even recognizing 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 starts to happen.
Look out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have very much to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Persistent headaches: When your hearing begins to decrease, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over sustained periods can cause chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another sign of hearing loss is insomnia. It seems as if 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.
- Difficulty concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you may have less concentration energy available to accomplish your daily routines. As a result, you might observe some difficulty focusing.
When you detect 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 development of hearing decline. 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.