Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that progresses gradually. That’s why it can be rather pernicious. Your hearing gets worse not in giant leaps but by tiny steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be hard to measure the decline in your hearing. That’s why recognizing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
A whole variety of related problems, 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. Timely treatment can also help you maintain your present hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be difficult to detect early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. You don’t, suddenly, lose a major portion of your hearing. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your everyday activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are extremely adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing begins 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 start tilting your head just a bit.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) may be failing due to age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds now: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them particularly difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their peak. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
- Increased volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most well known. It’s classically known and mentioned. But it’s also very noticeable and trackable. If you’re frequently turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
- Straining to hear in loud environments: Picking out individual voices in a crowd is one of the things that the brain is extremely good at. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a busy space can quickly become a chore. Having a hearing examination is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a difficult time following along.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: 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 might request some repetition. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags about your ears.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have very much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re working hard. And straining like this over sustained periods can cause chronic headaches.
- Difficulty concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration power available to get through your daily routines. You might find yourself with concentration issues as a result.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. You may think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
It’s a smart plan to get in touch with us for a hearing test if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the correct knowledge.