Hearing loss is well recognized to be a process that develops slowly. It can be rather subtle for this exact reason. Your hearing gets worse not in big leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be difficult to measure the decline in your hearing. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
A whole assortment of related problems, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so although it’s hard to notice, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as you can. Prompt treatment can also help you safeguard your present hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
Early signs of hearing loss can be hard to identify
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. It’s not like you wake up one day and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your day-to-day activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are incredibly adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can make use of other clues to determine what people are saying. Perhaps you unconsciously begin to tilt your head to the right when your hearing begins to go on the left side.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can achieve.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) might be failing as a result of age, there are some familiar signs you can keep an eye out for:
- Increased volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is possibly the most widely known. It’s classically recognized and cited. But it’s also easy to see and easy to track (and easy to relate to). If you’re frequently turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
- 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 particularly difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their peak. The same is true of other consonants also, but you should especially keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
- Straining to hear in loud environments: Picking individual voices in a crowded space is one thing that the brain is quite good at. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become overwhelming. If following these conversations is harder than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth having your ears tested.
- You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat themselves: This may be surprising. But, often, you won’t realize you’re doing it. Obviously, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. Some red flags should go up when this starts to happen.
Look out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
A few 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 major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And that extended strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.
- Trouble concentrating: It could be hard to obtain necessary levels of concentration to get through your daily activities if your brain has to devote more resources to hearing. As a result, you might notice some difficulty focusing.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. You might think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
It’s a good plan to get in touch with us for a hearing test if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.