Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that progresses gradually. That’s why it can be quite pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in big leaps but rather in tiny steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be difficult to track the decrease in your hearing. That’s why recognizing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
Even though it’s hard to identify, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide variety of related disorders, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Prompt treatment can also help you safeguard your present hearing levels. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
It can be hard to notice early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a major portion of your hearing. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your day-to-day activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly 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. Perhaps you unconsciously start to tilt your head to the right when your hearing starts to go on the left side.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can accomplish.
First signs of age-related hearing loss
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) may be waning due to age, there are some common signs you can watch out for:
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to differentiate.: There’s something about the frequency that these sounds vibrate on that can make them particularly difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their optimum level. You should pay particular 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 perhaps the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s classically recognized and cited. But it’s also very noticeable and trackable. If you’re constantly turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
- You’re asking people to repeat what they said often: This might be surprising. But, often, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. Some red flags should go up when this begins to happen.
- Struggling to hear in loud environments: Picking out 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 busy space can quickly become a chore. If following these conversations is harder than it used to be (or you find yourself opting out of more conversations than you used to), it’s worth having your ears examined.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, without a doubt, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. You might think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re working hard. And that prolonged strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.
- Difficulty concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you could have less concentration energy available to get through your daily routines. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a consequence.
It’s a good idea to give us a call for a hearing test if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.