It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s why it can be quite pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in giant leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be difficult to track the decline in your hearing. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s hard to spot, treating hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide range of associated conditions, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Prompt treatment can also help you safeguard your current hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to detect the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be difficult to observe early signs of hearing loss
The first signs of hearing loss tend to be elusive. It’s not like you wake up one day and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your day-to-day lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can make use of other clues to figure out what people are saying. Likewise, if your left ear begins to fade, maybe 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 – initial signs
There are some well known signs to look out for if you think that you or a family member may be going through the beginning of age associated hearing loss:
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to distinguish.: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively difficult to discern as your hearing worsens. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
- Straining to hear in noisy settings: One thing your brain is exceptionally good at is following individual voices in a busy room. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded room can quickly become overwhelming. Getting a hearing test is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- You regularly find yourself needing people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. But, often, you won’t realize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags about your hearing.
- Elevated volume on devices: This is perhaps the single most recognized sign of hearing loss. It’s classically recognized and cited. But it’s also very noticeable and trackable. If you’re frequently turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they have no connection to your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Difficulty focusing: It may be difficult to obtain necessary levels of concentration to accomplish your day-to-day activities if your brain has to devote more resources to hearing. As a result, you may experience some trouble focusing.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. 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 constantly straining to hear.
- 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.
It’s a smart idea to get in touch with us for a hearing exam if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.