Hearing loss is well recognized to be a process that progresses gradually. It can be rather subtle for this very reason. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in big leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be hard to measure the decrease in your hearing. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s difficult to detect, treating hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide variety of related conditions, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Timely treatment can also help you maintain your current hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be hard to spot
The first indications of hearing loss tend to be subtle. It’s not like you wake up one morning and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your day-to-day activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are extremely adaptable. When your hearing begins to fade, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow discussions or figure out who said what. Maybe you unconsciously start to tilt your head to the right when your hearing begins to go on the left side.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can achieve.
Age related hearing loss – first signs
There are some well known signs to watch for if you think that you or a family member might be going through the onset of age related hearing loss:
- Increased volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is possibly the most widely recognized. It’s classically recognized and mentioned. But it’s also very noticeable and trackable. You can be sure that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
- You frequently find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. In most cases, though, you will do this without realizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a hard time hearing something, you may request some repetition. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags around your hearing.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds now: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a frequency that becomes increasingly hard to differentiate as your hearing fades. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
- A hard time hearing in busy spaces: One thing your brain is exceptionally good at is following individual voices in a busy room. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing worsens. Hearing in a busy room can quickly become overwhelming. If following these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself opting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth having your ears examined.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Difficulty focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration energy available to get through your daily routines. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a consequence.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. You might think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Frequent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over prolonged periods can trigger chronic headaches.
When you notice 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 development of hearing decline. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.