It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. That’s part of what can make it rather insidious. Your hearing grows worse not in big leaps but by little steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your ears hard to keep track of, especially if you aren’t watching for it. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
A whole variety of related problems, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so even though it’s difficult to detect, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Timely treatment can also help you preserve your current hearing levels. Noticing the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
It can be challenging to detect early signs of hearing loss
The first indications of hearing loss tend to be subtle. It’s not like you get up one morning and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your everyday lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can use other clues to figure out what people are saying. Maybe you unconsciously begin to tilt your head to the right when your hearing begins to go on the left side.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
There are some common signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one may be experiencing the beginning of age related hearing loss:
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to differentiate.: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially hard to hear when your ears aren’t at their peak. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
- Elevated volume on devices: This is perhaps the single most well-known indication of hearing loss. It’s classically recognized and cited. But it’s also easy to see and easy to track (and easy to relate to). If you’re continuously turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
- A tough time hearing in crowded spaces: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowd is one thing that the brain is quite good at. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a busy space can quickly become a chore. Getting a hearing exam is the best choice if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a tough time following along.
- You’re asking people to repeat what they said frequently: This may be surprising. But, often, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. Obviously, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. Some red flags should go up when this begins to happen.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
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 powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Persistent headaches: When your hearing begins to decrease, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And straining like this over prolonged periods can cause chronic headaches.
- Trouble focusing: It may be difficult to obtain necessary levels of concentration to get through your daily activities if your brain has to devote more resources to hearing. You might find yourself with concentration issues as a consequence.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another sign of hearing loss is insomnia. It seems as if it would be easier to sleep when it’s quiet, but you go into a chronic state of restless alertness when you’re constantly straining to hear.
It’s a good plan to get in touch with us for a hearing exam if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.