It’s often said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. That’s why it can be rather pernicious. Your hearing grows worse not in big leaps but by tiny steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be difficult to keep track of the decline in your hearing. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big help for your ear-defense.
Even though it’s difficult to detect, treating hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide variety of associated conditions, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also avoid further deterioration with timely treatment. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be difficult to identify
The first indications of hearing loss are usually elusive. It’s not like you wake up one day and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your day-to-day lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing starts to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or determine who said what. Likewise, if your left ear begins to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously start tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can achieve.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
There are some well known signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one may be experiencing the onset of age related hearing loss:
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This might be surprising. In most instances, though, you will do this without recognizing that you are doing it at all. Obviously, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. Some red flags should go up when this begins happening.
- Increased volume on devices: This sign of hearing loss is possibly the most well known. It’s classic and frequently cited. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to monitor (and easy to relate to). You can be certain that your hearing is starting to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
- A hard time hearing in crowded spaces: One thing your brain is exceptionally good at is picking out individual voices in a crowded space. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a crowded room can quickly become a chore. If following these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth having your ears examined.
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds now: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate as your hearing worsens. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
Look out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they have no connection to your hearing. These signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another sign of hearing loss is insomnia. You may think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you could have less concentration energy available to get through your daily routines. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a result.
- 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 prolonged periods can cause chronic headaches.
When you observe any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to identify whether or not you’re experiencing the early stages of hearing impairment. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.