Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that develops slowly. It can be rather subtle for this very reason. Your hearing gets worse not in huge leaps but by tiny steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your hearing hard to keep track of, particularly if you aren’t looking for it. For this reason, it’s important to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s difficult to detect, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide variety of related conditions, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also prevent additional deterioration with prompt treatment. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Early signs of hearing loss can be hard to spot
The first indications of hearing loss are usually elusive. It isn’t 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 hide themselves in your everyday activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing starts to fade, 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 pick up the slack and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
There are some well known signs to watch for if you think that you or a loved one may be experiencing the onset of age associated hearing loss:
- Struggling to hear in loud environments: One of the things your brain is remarkably good at is picking out individual voices in a crowded room. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing worsens. Hearing in a busy room can quickly become a chore. Getting a hearing examination is the best choice if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to distinguish.: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a frequency that becomes increasingly difficult to differentiate as your hearing worsens. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely recognized. It’s classically known and mentioned. But it’s also easy to see and easy to track (and easy to relate to). If you’re continuously turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
- You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat themselves: This may be surprising. In most cases, though, you will do this without recognizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a difficult time hearing something, you may request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this begins to happen.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have very much to do with your hearing. These signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator 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.
- Trouble concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you may have less concentration energy available to accomplish your daily routines. You may find yourself with concentration issues as a consequence.
- Persistent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re doing hard work. And that prolonged strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.
It’s a good plan to give us a call for a hearing exam if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can come up with treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss develops gradually. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.