It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. That’s why it can be rather insidious. Your hearing gets worse not in huge leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be hard to track the decrease in your hearing. That’s why knowing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
A whole assortment of related problems, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so although it’s hard to detect, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Timely treatment can also help you safeguard your present hearing levels. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
It can be hard to observe early signs of hearing loss
The first signs of hearing loss tend to be elusive. You don’t, suddenly, lose a major portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your day-to-day lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are extremely adaptable. When your hearing begins to fade, 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 begins to go on the left side.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
First signs of age-related hearing loss
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) might be waning due to age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- Straining to hear in noisy settings: One of the things your brain is exceptionally good at is following individual voices in a crowded space. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s happening in a busy space. Having a hearing assessment is the best choice if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a difficult time following along.
- You frequently find yourself needing people to repeat what they said: This might be surprising. In most situations, though, you will do this without even realizing that you are doing it at all. Naturally, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. Some red flags should go up when this begins happening.
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds now: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively hard to differentiate as your hearing worsens. The same goes for other consonants also, but you should particularly keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
- Elevated volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most well known. It’s classic and often cited. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to track (and easy to relate to). If you’re constantly turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Difficulty concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you may have less concentration energy available to get through your everyday routines. As a result, you may experience some trouble focusing.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re working hard. And straining like this over prolonged periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. You probably think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
When you observe any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to figure out whether or not you are experiencing the early development of hearing decline. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.