It’s often said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s why it can be quite pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in big leaps but rather in tiny steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be difficult to keep track of the decline in your hearing. That’s why recognizing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
An entire variety of related issues, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so even though it’s difficult to notice, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Timely treatment can also help you safeguard your current hearing levels. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be difficult to identify
The first signs of hearing loss tend to be subtle. You don’t, suddenly, lose a major portion of your hearing. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your day-to-day 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 begins to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously start tilting your head just a bit.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) may be failing due to age, there are some common signs you can keep an eye out for:
- Increased volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely recognized. It’s common and frequently quoted. But it’s also easy to see and easy to track (and easy to relate to). You can be sure that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds now: There’s something about the frequency that these sounds vibrate on that can make them particularly hard to hear when your ears aren’t at their optimum level. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
- Struggling to hear in noisy settings: One thing your brain is exceptionally good at is following individual voices in a crowded space. But as your hearing gets worse, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become a chore. If following 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 checked.
- You frequently find yourself needing people to repeat what they said: This might be surprising. But, typically, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
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 strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re working hard. And that sustained strain also strains your brain and can lead to chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. You might think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Trouble concentrating: It could be hard to obtain necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day tasks if your brain has to invest more energy to hearing. As a result, you might experience some difficulty focusing.
When you detect any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to identify whether or not you are dealing with the early development of hearing impairment. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.