Hearing loss is well known to be a process that develops slowly. That’s why it can be quite insidious. Your hearing gets worse not in big leaps but by tiny steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be difficult to measure the decrease in your hearing. For this reason, it’s important to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
An entire variety of related issues, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s difficult to detect, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as you can. Timely treatment can also help you safeguard 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 identify
The first signs of hearing loss tend to be subtle. It’s not like you wake up one morning and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your day-to-day activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow discussions or figure out 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 your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
Age related hearing loss – first signs
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) might be waning because of age, there are some familiar signs you can keep an eye out for:
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a frequency that becomes progressively hard to discern as your hearing fades. The same is true of other consonants also, but you should especially keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
- You regularly find yourself needing people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. But, typically, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags about your ears.
- Increased volume on devices: This sign of hearing loss is possibly the most well known. It’s classically recognized and mentioned. 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 distinguishing individual voices in a crowded room. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become overwhelming. 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 having your ears checked.
Look out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
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 subtle.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And straining like this over sustained periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you could have less concentration energy available to accomplish your everyday routines. You might find yourself with concentration issues as a result.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another sign 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 always straining to hear.
When you notice any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to figure out whether or not you are experiencing the early stages of hearing decline. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.