Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that progresses gradually. That’s part of what can make it quite insidious. Your hearing gets worse not in giant leaps but by little steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your hearing difficult to keep track of, especially if you aren’t watching for it. For this reason, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
A whole assortment of related issues, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so even though it’s difficult to detect, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. You will also protect against additional deterioration with timely treatment. Noticing the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
It can be hard to detect early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. It’s not like you wake up one day and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your everyday activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing begins to go and can make use of other clues to figure out what people are saying. Similarly, if your left ear starts to fade, maybe your right ear starts to pick up the slack and you unconsciously start tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can achieve.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
There are some common signs to look out for if you think that you or a family member may be going through the beginning of age related hearing loss:
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds now: 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 goes for other consonants also, but you should particularly pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
- You’re asking people to repeat what they said frequently: This might be surprising. But, typically, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. When you have a hard time hearing something, you might request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this begins to happen.
- Struggling to hear in loud settings: Picking individual voices in a crowded space is one of the things that the brain is very good at. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become overwhelming. Having a hearing exam is the best choice if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a tough time following along.
- Elevated 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 see and easy to track (and easy to relate to). You can be certain that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have very much to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Difficulty concentrating: It could be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to accomplish your daily activities if your brain has to invest more energy to hearing. You may find yourself with concentration problems as a result.
- Persistent headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over sustained periods can cause chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another sign of hearing loss is insomnia. It seems as if it would be easier to fall asleep when it’s quiet, but you go into a chronic state of restless alertness when you’re always straining to hear.
It’s a smart idea to get in touch with us for a hearing test if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.