It’s frequently said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s why it can be rather pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in big leaps but rather in tiny steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your hearing hard to keep track of, especially 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.
A whole variety of related problems, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so even though it’s hard to notice, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Prompt 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.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be difficult to identify
The first indications of hearing loss are usually subtle. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a large portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your everyday lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing starts 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 starts to go on the left side.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can achieve.
First signs of age-related hearing loss
There are some common signs to watch for if you think that you or a family member might be experiencing the onset of age related hearing loss:
- A difficult time hearing in crowded spaces: Picking individual voices in a crowd 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 busy space can quickly become overwhelming. Getting a hearing exam is the best choice if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a tough time following along.
- Increased volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely known. It’s classically known and cited. But it’s also extremely noticeable 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.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to distinguish.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes increasingly difficult to discern as your hearing worsens. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This might be surprising. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. Obviously, 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 about your ears.
Look out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have much to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing begins to decline, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over extended periods can cause chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. It seems like it would be easier to fall asleep when it’s quiet, but you go into a chronic state of restless alertness when you’re always straining to hear.
- Trouble focusing: It may be difficult to obtain necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day activities if your brain has to devote more resources to hearing. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a result.
When you notice any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to determine whether or not you’re experiencing the early stages of hearing decline. Then, we can come up with treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.