Hearing loss is well known to be a process that progresses gradually. That’s why it can be quite insidious. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in giant leaps but rather in tiny steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your ears difficult to keep track of, particularly if you aren’t looking for it. 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 variety of associated conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Timely treatment can also help you maintain your present hearing levels. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Early signs of hearing loss can be hard to identify
The first indications of hearing loss tend to be elusive. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a large portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your day-to-day lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing begins to fade, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or figure out who said what. Likewise, if your left ear begins to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.
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) might be waning because of age, there are some common signs you can watch out for:
- You’re asking people to repeat what they said often: This might be surprising. But, typically, you won’t realize 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.
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds now: 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 peak. The same goes for other consonants also, but you should especially pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
- Struggling to hear in noisy settings: Picking individual voices in a crowded space is one of the things that the brain is quite good at. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become overwhelming. Having a hearing examination is the best choice if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This sign of hearing loss is perhaps the most well known. It’s common and often quoted. But it’s also very obvious and trackable. If you’re continuously turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
Look out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have very much to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing begins to decrease, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And straining like this over sustained periods can cause chronic headaches.
- Difficulty focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration power available to accomplish your everyday routines. As a result, you might experience some difficulty focusing.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. You might think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
When you observe any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to identify whether or not you are dealing with the early stages of hearing decline. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. But you can stay ahead of it with the correct knowledge.