Hearing loss is well known to be a process that develops slowly. It can be quite subtle for this very reason. Your hearing gets worse not in huge leaps but by tiny steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your hearing hard to track, particularly 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 variety of related problems, 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 you can. You will also protect against further degeneration with timely treatment. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
It can be hard to detect early signs of hearing loss
The first signs of hearing loss are usually elusive. You don’t, suddenly, lose a large portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your everyday lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or figure out who said what. Likewise, if your left ear starts to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to compensate 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 concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) might be waning because of age, there are some familiar signs you can keep an eye out for:
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This might be surprising. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. When you have a difficult time hearing something, you might request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this begins happening.
- Elevated volume on devices: This is probably the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s classically recognized and cited. But it’s also extremely obvious and trackable. If you’re continuously turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
- A tough time hearing in crowded spaces: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowded space is one of the things that the brain is very good at. But as your hearing gets worse, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become a chore. Getting a hearing examination is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a tough time following along.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to differentiate.: 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 is true of other consonants also, but you should especially keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
Look out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
A few subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they don’t have anything at all to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you could have less concentration power available to get through your daily routines. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a result.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing starts to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And that prolonged strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign 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.
When you detect any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to determine whether or not you are dealing with the early development of hearing impairment. Then, we can come up with treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.