Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that develops gradually. That’s why it can be rather pernicious. Your hearing gets worse not in giant leaps but by little steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your hearing challenging to track, especially if you aren’t watching for it. That’s why knowing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big help for your ear-defense.
Even though it’s difficult to detect, dealing with hearing loss early can help you prevent a wide variety of related disorders, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Timely treatment can also help you safeguard your current hearing levels. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Early signs of hearing loss can be hard to spot
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a large portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your day-to-day lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow discussions or determine who said what. Likewise, if your left ear starts to fade, maybe your right ear starts to pick up the slack and you unconsciously start tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can accomplish.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) may be failing because of age, there are some familiar signs you can keep an eye out for:
- Elevated volume on devices: This is perhaps the single most recognized indication of hearing loss. It’s common and frequently cited. But it’s also very obvious and trackable. You can be certain that your hearing is starting to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
- Struggling to hear in loud environments: One thing your brain is amazingly good at is following individual voices in a busy space. But as your hearing gets worse, your brain has less information to work with. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s going on in a crowded space. Having a hearing examination is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This may be surprising. In most cases, though, you will do this without even recognizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a challenging time hearing something, you may request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this begins happening.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to differentiate.: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a frequency that becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate as your hearing fades. The same goes for other consonants also, but you should particularly keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, without a doubt, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another sign of hearing loss is insomnia. You might think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Persistent headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And that sustained strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you could have less concentration power available to accomplish your daily routines. You might find yourself with concentration issues as a consequence.
When you notice any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to figure out whether or not you’re dealing with the early stages of hearing impairment. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.