It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. It can be rather insidious for this exact reason. Your hearing gets worse not in giant leaps but by tiny steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be hard to measure the decline in your hearing. For this reason, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
A whole variety of related issues, like 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 protect against additional degeneration with prompt treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to notice the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be hard to observe early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a large portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your day-to-day lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are incredibly adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can use other clues to figure out what people are saying. Maybe you unconsciously start 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.
Age related hearing loss – first signs
There are some common signs to watch 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 what they said: This might be surprising. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. Obviously, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags about your hearing.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely known. It’s classically recognized and mentioned. But it’s also very obvious and trackable. You can be sure that your hearing is starting to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
- Straining to hear in noisy environments: One of the things your brain is remarkably good at is picking out individual voices in a busy room. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded room can quickly become overwhelming. If hearing these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself opting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth getting your ears assessed.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to differentiate.: There’s something about the frequency that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially 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 mixed up.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
A few subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they don’t have anything at all to do with your hearing. These signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. It seems as if it would be easier to sleep when it’s quiet, but you go into a chronic state of restless alertness when you’re always straining to hear.
- Frequent 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.
- Difficulty focusing: It could be hard to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your daily activities if your brain has to invest more resources to hearing. As a result, you may experience some trouble focusing.
When you notice any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to determine whether or not you’re dealing with the early development of hearing decline. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.