Hearing loss is well recognized to be a process that develops gradually. It can be quite subtle for this very reason. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in giant leaps but rather in tiny steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your ears difficult to keep track of, especially 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 spot, dealing with hearing loss early can help you prevent a wide range of related conditions, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Prompt treatment can also help you maintain your current hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to detect the early warning signs as they are present.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be hard to identify
The first signs of hearing loss are usually subtle. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a major portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your everyday lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing starts to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow discussions or determine who said what. Likewise, if your left ear begins to fade, maybe your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously start tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can accomplish.
Age related hearing loss – first signs
There are some well known signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one might be going through the beginning of age related hearing loss:
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This is probably the single most recognized sign of hearing loss. It’s classically known and mentioned. But it’s also extremely obvious 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.
- A tough time hearing in busy spaces: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowd is one of the things that the brain is quite good at. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded room can quickly become a chore. Getting a hearing test is the best choice if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds now: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially difficult 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 confused.
- You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This might be surprising. In most instances, though, you will do this without realizing that you are doing it at all. Obviously, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have much to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Difficulty concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you could have less concentration energy available to get through your everyday routines. As a result, you might experience some trouble focusing.
- Persistent headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And that sustained strain also strains your brain and can translate into chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. It seems like 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 plan to give us a call for a hearing exam if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.