It’s frequently said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. That’s why it can be quite pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in giant leaps but rather in tiny steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your hearing challenging to track, especially if you aren’t looking for it. For this reason, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
An entire assortment of related issues, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so even though it’s hard to notice, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. You will also avoid additional degeneration with timely treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to detect the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be difficult to notice early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. It isn’t like you wake up one day and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your day-to-day lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing starts to go, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow discussions or determine who said what. Likewise, if your left ear begins to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously start tilting your head just a bit.
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 family member) might be failing as a result of age, there are some common signs you can watch out for:
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This may be surprising. In most instances, though, you will do this without realizing that you are doing it at all. Obviously, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. Some red flags should go up when this starts happening.
- A tough time hearing in crowded spaces: Picking out individual voices in a crowded space is one of the things that the brain is extremely good at. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded room can quickly become overwhelming. Getting a hearing assessment is the best option if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- 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 especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This is probably the single most recognized sign of hearing loss. It’s classically recognized and mentioned. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to monitor (and easy to relate to). You can be certain that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
You should also be on the lookout 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 signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Difficulty focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you could have less concentration energy available to get through your daily routines. You may find yourself with concentration issues as a consequence.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re working hard. And straining like this over prolonged periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. You may think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
It’s a smart 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 formulate treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.