Hearing loss is well recognized to be a process that progresses gradually. It can be quite subtle for this exact reason. Your hearing grows worse not in huge leaps but by little steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your hearing hard to track, particularly if you aren’t looking for it. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s difficult to detect, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide variety of related disorders, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Prompt treatment can also help you maintain your current hearing levels. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be difficult to identify
The first signs of hearing loss tend to be subtle. It isn’t like you wake up one morning and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your day-to-day activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are extremely adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing begins to go and can make use of other clues to figure out what people are saying. Likewise, if your left ear begins to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously begin 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 common signs to watch for if you think that you or a family member might be going through the onset of age related hearing loss:
- Struggling to hear in noisy settings: One of the things your brain is amazingly good at is distinguishing individual voices in a crowded space. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a busy room can quickly become a chore. If following these conversations is harder 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.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely known. 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 always turning the volume up.
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds now: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them particularly hard to hear when your ears aren’t at their optimum level. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This might be surprising. But, often, you won’t realize you’re doing it. 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 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 subtle.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. You may think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re working hard. And straining like this over sustained periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you could have less concentration energy available to get through your everyday routines. As a result, you may observe some difficulty focusing.
When you observe any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to figure out whether or not you’re experiencing the early development of hearing decline. 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 correct knowledge.