It’s often said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. That’s part of what can make it quite insidious. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in giant leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be difficult to track the decrease in your hearing. That’s why knowing 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 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 safeguard your present hearing levels. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
It can be hard to observe early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. You don’t, suddenly, lose a large portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your everyday lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are incredibly adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing begins to go and can use other clues to figure out what people are saying. 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 accomplish.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
There are some common signs to watch for if you think that you or a loved one might be experiencing the onset of age associated hearing loss:
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock. In most cases, though, you will do this without even realizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a hard time hearing something, you might request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this starts to happen.
- Struggling to hear in loud environments: One thing your brain is exceptionally good at is picking out individual voices in a crowded space. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a busy room can quickly become a chore. Having a hearing exam is the best choice if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a tough time following along.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds now: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them particularly 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 confused.
- Increased volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This is probably the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s classic and frequently quoted. But it’s also extremely obvious and trackable. If you’re constantly turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have very much to do with your hearing. These signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. 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.
- Difficulty concentrating: It may be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to accomplish your day-to-day tasks if your brain has to invest more energy to hearing. As a result, you might observe some trouble focusing.
- Persistent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re working hard. And straining like this over extended periods can cause chronic headaches.
When you observe any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to figure out whether or not you’re experiencing the early development of hearing impairment. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.