Hearing loss is well recognized to be a process that develops gradually. That’s part of what can make it quite pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in big leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be challenging to keep track of the decrease in your hearing. That’s why recognizing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big help for your ear-defense.
A whole variety of related issues, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so even though it’s hard to detect, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Timely treatment can also help you maintain your current hearing levels. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
It can be difficult to notice early signs of hearing loss
The first indications of hearing loss tend to be elusive. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a major portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your day-to-day lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are extremely adaptable. When your hearing starts to fade, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or figure out who said what. Likewise, if your left ear starts to fade, maybe your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can achieve.
First signs of age-related hearing loss
There are some common signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one might be experiencing the onset of age associated hearing loss:
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: There’s something about the frequency that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their peak. The same goes for other consonants also, but you should particularly pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
- A hard time hearing in busy spaces: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowded space is one thing that the brain is quite good at. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing worsens. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become overwhelming. If hearing these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you used to), it’s worth getting your ears tested.
- Increased volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This sign of hearing loss is possibly the most widely known. It’s common and frequently cited. 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 frequently find yourself asking people to repeat themselves: This might be surprising. But, often, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. When you have a hard time hearing something, you might request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this starts happening.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have very much to do with your hearing. These signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. 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.
- Trouble concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you could have less concentration power available to accomplish your daily routines. As a result, you might experience some difficulty focusing.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing begins to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And straining like this over extended periods can cause chronic headaches.
When you observe any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to identify whether or not you are experiencing the early development of hearing decline. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss develops gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the correct knowledge.