Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that progresses gradually. It can be rather subtle for this very reason. Your hearing gets worse not in big leaps but by tiny steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your hearing difficult to keep track of, particularly if you aren’t looking for it. For this reason, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
An entire assortment of related problems, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s hard to detect, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Timely treatment can also help you preserve your present hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to detect the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be hard to notice early signs of hearing loss
The first indications of hearing loss tend to be elusive. It’s not like you wake up one morning and, all of a sudden, 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 incredibly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can start 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 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) might be waning due to age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- Struggling to hear in noisy settings: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowded space is one of the things that the brain is extremely good at. 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 happening in a crowded space. Having a hearing test is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: 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 optimum level. The same goes for other consonants as well, but you should especially pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
- You regularly find yourself needing people to repeat themselves: This might be surprising. In most instances, though, you will do this without realizing that you are doing it at all. Obviously, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- Elevated volume on devices: This sign of hearing loss is possibly the most widely known. It’s classically recognized and mentioned. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to monitor (and easy to relate to). You can be certain that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
Keep your eye 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 signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing starts to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And straining like this over extended periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Difficulty concentrating: It could be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to accomplish your daily activities if your brain has to invest more resources to hearing. You may find yourself with concentration problems as a result.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. It seems as if it would be easier to fall asleep when it’s quiet, but you go into a chronic state of restless alertness when you’re constantly straining to hear.
When you detect any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to identify whether or not you are experiencing the early stages of hearing decline. Then, we can come up with treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss develops gradually. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.