Hearing loss is well recognized to be a process that develops slowly. It can be quite insidious for this very reason. Your hearing gets worse not in huge leaps but by tiny steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your hearing challenging to keep track of, particularly 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.
Even though it’s difficult to detect, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide range of associated disorders, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also avoid further deterioration with timely treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to detect the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be challenging to observe early signs of hearing loss
The first signs of hearing loss tend to be elusive. 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 day-to-day lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow conversations or determine 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.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) might be waning because of age, there are some common signs you can keep an eye out for:
- Increased volume on devices: This is perhaps the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s classically recognized and cited. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to track (and easy to relate to). You can be certain that your hearing is starting to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to distinguish.: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially hard to hear when your ears aren’t at their peak. The same is true of other consonants as well, but you should especially pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
- A tough time hearing in crowded spaces: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowd is one of the things that the brain is quite good at. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s happening in a busy room. If following these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you used to), it’s worth getting your ears examined.
- You frequently find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This might be surprising. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags around your hearing.
Keep your eye 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 are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. You probably think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Difficulty focusing: It may be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your daily activities if your brain has to invest more energy to hearing. You may find yourself with concentration issues as a consequence.
- Persistent headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re doing hard work. And that sustained strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.
It’s a good idea to get in touch with us for a hearing assessment if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss develops gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.