Hearing loss is well known to be a process that develops slowly. That’s part of what can make it rather pernicious. Your hearing gets worse not in huge leaps but by little steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your ears hard to keep track of, especially if you aren’t looking for it. That’s why recognizing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big help for your ear-defense.
An entire assortment 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 crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. You will also prevent additional degeneration with prompt treatment. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
It can be challenging to observe early signs of hearing loss
The first signs of hearing loss are usually subtle. It’s not like you get up one day and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your day-to-day lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly 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. 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 accomplish.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
There are some common signs to watch for if you think that you or a family member might be going through the beginning of age associated hearing loss:
- You’re asking people to repeat what they said frequently: This may be surprising. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags around your hearing.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to differentiate.: There’s something about the frequency that these sounds vibrate on that can make them particularly difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their peak. The same is true of other consonants as well, but you should particularly pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This is perhaps the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s classically known and cited. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to track (and easy to relate to). You can be sure that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
- Straining to hear in loud environments: One thing your brain is remarkably good at is picking out individual voices in a busy room. But as your hearing gets worse, your brain has less information to work with. 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.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they don’t have anything at all to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, without a doubt, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Persistent headaches: When your hearing begins to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And that extended strain also strains your brain and can translate into chronic headaches.
- Difficulty focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you may have less concentration power available to accomplish your everyday routines. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a consequence.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. You may think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
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 stages of hearing decline. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.