It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. That’s why it can be quite pernicious. Your hearing grows worse not in huge leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be difficult to track the decrease in your hearing. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
A whole assortment of related issues, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s hard to notice, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. You will also prevent additional degeneration with timely treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
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 incredibly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow discussions or figure out who said what. Perhaps you unconsciously start 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 achieve.
Age related hearing loss – first signs
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) might be waning due to age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- Elevated volume on devices: This is perhaps the single most recognized sign of hearing loss. It’s classic and often cited. But it’s also extremely noticeable and trackable. If you’re frequently turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to distinguish.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a frequency that becomes progressively hard to differentiate as your hearing worsens. The same is true of other consonants as well, but you should especially pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
- You’re asking people to repeat what they said frequently: This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock. But, often, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have difficulty 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.
- A tough time hearing in busy spaces: Picking individual voices in a crowded space is one thing that the brain is extremely good at. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a busy room can quickly become a chore. If hearing these conversations is more difficult 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.
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 much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, no doubt, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Difficulty concentrating: It could be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day activities if your brain has to invest more resources to hearing. As a result, you may notice some difficulty focusing.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. You probably think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, 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 prolonged strain also strains your brain and can lead to chronic headaches.
When you observe 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 experiencing the early development of hearing decline. Then, we can come up with treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the correct knowledge.