It’s frequently said that hearing loss is a gradual process. It can be quite subtle for this exact reason. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in giant leaps but rather in little steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your ears difficult to keep track of, particularly if you aren’t looking for it. For this reason, it’s important to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s difficult to spot, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide range of associated disorders, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also protect against additional deterioration with timely treatment. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be difficult to identify
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. It’s not like you wake up one day and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your everyday activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can make use of other clues to determine what people are saying. Similarly, if your left ear begins to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to pick up the slack and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
First signs of age-related hearing loss
There are some well known signs to watch for if you think that you or a loved one might be experiencing the onset of age related hearing loss:
- Elevated volume on devices: This is probably the single most well-known indication of hearing loss. It’s classically recognized and cited. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to track (and easy to relate to). If you’re constantly turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
- A difficult time hearing in busy spaces: One thing your brain is remarkably 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 busy space can quickly become overwhelming. If hearing these conversations is harder than it used to be (or you find yourself opting out of more conversations than you used to), it’s worth getting your ears examined.
- You’re asking people to repeat what they said frequently: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. But, often, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. When you have a hard time hearing something, you may request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this starts to happen.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a frequency that becomes increasingly tough to discern as your hearing fades. The same is true of other consonants as well, but you should particularly keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
You should also be on the lookout 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 signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Chronic headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And that extended strain also strains your brain and can translate into chronic headaches.
- Trouble concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you could have less concentration power available to get through your daily routines. As a result, you might observe some trouble focusing.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. 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.
It’s a smart plan to give us a call for a hearing test if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.