It’s often said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s why it can be rather insidious. Your hearing grows worse not in giant leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be hard to track the decrease in your hearing. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big help for your ear-defense.
A whole assortment of related issues, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so even though it’s difficult to notice, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Timely treatment can also help you preserve your present hearing levels. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
Early signs of hearing loss can be difficult to identify
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. You don’t, suddenly, lose a major portion of your hearing. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your everyday activities.
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 discussions or figure out who said what. Likewise, 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 there’s only so much compensation that your brain can accomplish.
First signs of age-related hearing loss
There are some common signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one might be experiencing the beginning of age associated hearing loss:
- Struggling to hear in loud settings: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowd is one of the things that the brain is very good at. But as your hearing gets worse, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become overwhelming. Having a hearing assessment is the best choice if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a tough time following along.
- Increased volume on devices: This is probably the single most recognized sign 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 frequently turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to differentiate.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively hard to differentiate as your hearing worsens. The same is true of other consonants also, but you should especially keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
- You frequently find yourself needing people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock. In most instances, though, you will do this without realizing that you are doing it at all. Obviously, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags around your hearing.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have much 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: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. It seems like it would be easier to sleep when it’s quiet, but you go into a chronic state of restless alertness when you’re always straining to hear.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over prolonged periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Difficulty concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration energy available to get through your everyday routines. You may find yourself with concentration problems as a result.
It’s a good plan to get in touch with us for a hearing assessment if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss develops gradually. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.