Hearing loss is well recognized to be a process that develops gradually. It can be quite insidious for this exact reason. Your hearing gets worse not in huge leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be hard to measure the decline in your hearing. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
Even though it’s difficult to spot, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide range of related conditions, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Timely treatment can also help you safeguard your current hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be hard to observe early signs of hearing loss
The first signs of hearing loss tend to be subtle. It isn’t like you wake up one morning and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your everyday activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can make use of other clues to determine what people are saying. Maybe you unconsciously begin to tilt your head to the right when your hearing starts to go on the left side.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
Age related hearing loss – first signs
There are some common 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:
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially hard to hear when your ears aren’t at their peak. You should pay particular 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 may be surprising. But, often, you won’t realize you’re doing it. When you have a difficult time hearing something, you might request some repetition. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags about your ears.
- Straining to hear in loud environments: One of the things your brain is amazingly good at is following individual voices in a busy room. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s happening in a busy room. If hearing these conversations is harder than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth getting your ears examined.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This is probably the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s classically known and mentioned. But it’s also very obvious and trackable. 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 be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Chronic headaches: When your hearing begins to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over sustained periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- 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.
- Difficulty focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration power available to get through your daily routines. You may find yourself with concentration problems as a consequence.
It’s a smart idea to get in touch with us for a hearing assessment if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.