Hearing loss is well known to be a process that progresses slowly. That’s why it can be quite insidious. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in giant leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be hard to measure the decline in your hearing. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s hard to detect, dealing with hearing loss early can help you prevent a wide range of related disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also protect against further deterioration with timely treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to notice the early warning signs as they are present.
Early signs of hearing loss can be difficult to spot
The first indications of hearing loss are usually elusive. It isn’t like you get up one morning and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your everyday activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are extremely adaptable. When your hearing starts to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow discussions or figure out who said what. Maybe you unconsciously begin 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 accomplish.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) might be failing due to age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This sign of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely known. It’s classic and often cited. But it’s also very noticeable and trackable. If you’re continuously turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
- You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat themselves: This might be surprising. But, typically, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. When you have a difficult time hearing something, you may request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this starts happening.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to distinguish.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a frequency that becomes progressively difficult to discern as your hearing fades. The same goes for other consonants as well, but you should especially keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
- A difficult time hearing in busy spaces: One of the things your brain is remarkably good at is following individual voices in a busy space. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing worsens. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become a chore. Having a hearing assessment is the best option if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a tough time following along.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have very much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you could have less concentration power available to get through your everyday routines. As a result, you may notice some difficulty focusing.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. You may think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And that sustained strain also strains your brain and can translate into chronic headaches.
When you observe any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to determine whether or not you are experiencing the early development of hearing decline. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss develops gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.