It’s frequently said that hearing loss is a gradual process. It can be rather subtle for this very reason. Your hearing gets worse not in big leaps but by little steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your hearing hard to track, especially if you aren’t watching for it. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
An entire assortment of related issues, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s difficult to notice, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Prompt treatment can also help you safeguard your current hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be hard to observe early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. It’s not like you get up one morning and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your everyday lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow discussions or determine who said what. Likewise, if your left ear starts 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.
Age related hearing loss – first signs
There are some well known signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one may be going through the onset of age associated hearing loss:
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to differentiate.: There’s something about the frequency that these sounds vibrate on that can make them particularly difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their optimum level. The same is true of other consonants also, but you should particularly keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
- Straining to hear in noisy environments: One of the things your brain is amazingly good at is distinguishing individual voices in a busy room. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing worsens. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s going on in a busy space. If following these conversations is harder than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth getting your ears checked.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This sign of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely recognized. It’s classic and often quoted. 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.
- You frequently find yourself needing people to repeat themselves: This might be surprising. In most cases, though, you will do this without recognizing that you are doing it at all. Naturally, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags about your ears.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they don’t have anything at all to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, without a doubt, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another sign of hearing loss is insomnia. You may think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing starts to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And that sustained strain also strains your brain and can lead to chronic headaches.
- Trouble concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration power available to accomplish your everyday routines. As a result, you may notice some trouble focusing.
When you observe any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to figure out whether or not you are dealing with the early development of hearing impairment. Then, we can develop treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. But you can stay ahead of it with the correct knowledge.