Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that develops slowly. It can be rather subtle for this exact reason. Your hearing grows worse not in giant leaps but by little steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your ears hard to keep track of, particularly if you aren’t looking for it. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big help for your ear-defense.
An entire assortment of related issues, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so even though it’s difficult to notice, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Prompt treatment can also help you preserve your current hearing levels. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be difficult to identify
The first signs of hearing loss tend to be elusive. It’s not like you get up one morning and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your day-to-day activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are extremely adaptable. When your hearing starts to fade, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow discussions or determine who said what. Similarly, if your left ear begins to fade, maybe your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously start tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can accomplish.
Age related hearing loss – first signs
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 associated hearing loss:
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to differentiate.: 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 especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
- You regularly find yourself needing people to repeat themselves: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. In most situations, though, you will do this without even recognizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a hard time hearing something, you may request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this begins to happen.
- A tough time hearing in busy spaces: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowd is one thing that the brain is very good at. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing worsens. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s going on in a busy room. Getting a hearing exam is the best choice if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- Increased volume on devices: This is probably the single most recognized sign of hearing loss. It’s classic and often quoted. But it’s also extremely noticeable and trackable. You can be sure that your hearing is starting to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
Some 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.
- Difficulty concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you may have less concentration power available to accomplish your everyday routines. As a result, you may experience some trouble focusing.
- 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 constantly straining to hear.
- Frequent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re working hard. And straining like this over prolonged periods can trigger chronic headaches.
When you observe any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to identify whether or not you’re dealing with the early development of hearing decline. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.