It’s frequently said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s why it can be rather pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in big leaps but rather in little steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your hearing difficult to keep track of, especially if you aren’t watching for it. That’s why knowing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
An entire assortment of related problems, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s hard to detect, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as you can. You will also protect against additional deterioration with prompt treatment. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be difficult to spot
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a large portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your everyday lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing starts to fade, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow conversations or figure out who said what. Maybe you unconsciously start to tilt your head to the right when your hearing starts to go on the left side.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
There are some well known signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one might be experiencing the onset of age associated hearing loss:
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This one shouldn’t come as a huge shock. But, often, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- 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 very noticeable and trackable. If you’re frequently turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes increasingly difficult to discern as your hearing fades. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
- A difficult time hearing in busy spaces: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowded space is one thing that the brain is quite good at. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing worsens. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become a chore. If hearing these conversations is harder than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you used to), it’s worth having your ears tested.
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, undoubtedly, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Persistent headaches: When your hearing starts to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over extended periods can cause chronic headaches.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration energy available to accomplish your daily routines. You might find yourself with concentration issues as a result.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. You may think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
It’s a good idea to give us a call for a hearing test if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.