It’s often said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. It can be rather subtle for this very reason. Your hearing gets worse not in giant leaps but by tiny steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your hearing hard to track, particularly if you aren’t watching for it. That’s why knowing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
An entire variety of related problems, like 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. You will also avoid additional degeneration with timely treatment. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be difficult to spot
The first signs of hearing loss are usually subtle. It isn’t like you get up one day and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your day-to-day activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are extremely adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing begins to go and can make use of other clues to figure out what people are saying. Perhaps you unconsciously start 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.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
There are some well known signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one might be experiencing the onset of age related hearing loss:
- You’re asking people to repeat what they said frequently: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. In most cases, though, you will do this without even realizing that you are doing it at all. 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.
- Increased volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This is perhaps the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s classically known and cited. But it’s also very noticeable and trackable. You can be certain that your hearing is starting to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
- A difficult time hearing in busy spaces: Distinguishing 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 crowded room can quickly become a chore. If following these conversations is harder than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you used to), it’s worth having your ears checked.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to distinguish.: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their optimum level. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
Some 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 subtle.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another sign of hearing loss is insomnia. You probably think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Difficulty focusing: It could be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day tasks if your brain has to invest more energy to hearing. As a result, you might notice some trouble focusing.
- Chronic headaches: When your hearing begins to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And straining like this over extended periods can cause chronic headaches.
When you notice any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to figure out whether or not you’re dealing with the early stages of hearing impairment. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.