It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. That’s why it can be rather insidious. Your hearing doesn’t worsen in giant leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be difficult to keep track of the decrease in your hearing. For this reason, it’s important to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s hard to spot, treating hearing loss early can help you prevent a wide variety of related conditions, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Timely treatment can also help you maintain your current hearing levels. Noticing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be hard to spot
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. It’s not like you get up one day and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your everyday lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are extremely adaptable. When your hearing starts to fade, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or determine who said what. Maybe you unconsciously begin 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
There are some common signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one may be experiencing the beginning of age related hearing loss:
- You regularly find yourself needing people to repeat themselves: This one shouldn’t come as a huge shock. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. When you have a difficult time hearing something, you may request some repetition. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags about your ears.
- Struggling to hear in loud environments: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowded space is one of the things that the brain is very good at. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing worsens. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s going on in a crowded room. 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 checked.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds now: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a frequency that becomes progressively difficult to discern as your hearing fades. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
- Elevated volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely recognized. It’s common and frequently cited. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to monitor (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.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, without a doubt, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- 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 constantly straining to hear.
- Persistent headaches: When your hearing begins to decrease, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And that prolonged strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you could have less concentration energy available to get through your everyday routines. You might find yourself with concentration issues as a consequence.
When you detect any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to identify whether or not you’re dealing with the early development of hearing impairment. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.