Hearing loss is well recognized to be a process that develops gradually. That’s part of what can make it rather insidious. Your hearing grows worse not in huge leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be difficult to track 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.
Even though it’s difficult to identify, treating hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide range of related disorders, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Prompt treatment can also help you preserve your current hearing levels. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
Early signs of hearing loss can be difficult to spot
The first indications of hearing loss are usually subtle. You don’t, suddenly, lose a major portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your everyday lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly 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, maybe your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can achieve.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
There are some common signs to watch for if you think that you or a family member may be going through the onset of age related hearing loss:
- Struggling to hear in noisy settings: Picking individual voices in a crowd is one of the things that the brain is quite good at. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s happening in a crowded space. If hearing 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 getting your ears assessed.
- You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat themselves: This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock. But, often, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. When you have a challenging time hearing something, you may request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this starts happening.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This indication of hearing loss is possibly the most well known. It’s classic and often cited. But it’s also extremely noticeable and trackable. You can be sure that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to distinguish.: These consonant sounds tend to 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 pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
A few subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they don’t have anything at all to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, no doubt, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. You probably think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Trouble focusing: It could be difficult to obtain necessary levels of concentration to get through your daily activities if your brain has to devote more energy to hearing. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a consequence.
- Frequent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re working hard. And that extended strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.
It’s a good idea to give us a call for a hearing exam if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can develop treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.