It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. It can be rather subtle for this exact reason. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in big leaps but rather in tiny steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be hard to measure the decrease in your hearing. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
A whole variety of related issues, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so although it’s hard to detect, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as you can. You will also protect against further degeneration with timely treatment. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be hard to identify
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. You don’t, suddenly, lose a large portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your day-to-day lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing begins to fade, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or determine who said what. Likewise, if your left ear begins to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) may be waning due to age, there are some common signs you can watch out for:
- Increased volume on devices: This is perhaps the single most recognized indication of hearing loss. It’s classically known and mentioned. But it’s also very obvious 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.
- You frequently find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. In most instances, 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. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- Struggling to hear in noisy settings: One of the things your brain is amazingly good at is picking out individual voices in a crowded room. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded room can quickly become overwhelming. Getting a hearing assessment is the best choice if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a difficult time following along.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds now: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a frequency that becomes progressively 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 mixed up.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, no doubt, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Trouble focusing: It may be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day activities if your brain has to devote more energy to hearing. As a result, you may notice some trouble focusing.
- 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 sustained periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. You might think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
It’s a good idea 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 protect your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss develops gradually. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.