It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s why it can be quite pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t worsen in giant leaps but rather in tiny steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be challenging to measure the decrease in your hearing. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
An entire variety of related issues, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so even though it’s hard to detect, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Prompt treatment can also help you maintain your current hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
Early signs of hearing loss can be difficult to spot
The first indications of hearing loss tend to be elusive. It’s not like you wake up one day and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your day-to-day activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or figure out who said what. Maybe you unconsciously start 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.
First signs of age-related hearing loss
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) might be failing because of age, there are some common signs you can watch out for:
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to distinguish.: There’s something about the frequency 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 particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
- Straining to hear in noisy settings: Picking out individual voices in a crowded space is one thing that the brain is quite good at. But as your hearing gets worse, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a crowded room can quickly become a chore. If hearing these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth getting your ears tested.
- Elevated volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely known. It’s common and often quoted. But it’s also extremely obvious and trackable. You can be sure that your hearing is starting to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
- You regularly find yourself needing people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock. In most situations, though, you will do this without recognizing that you are doing it at all. Obviously, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. Some red flags should go up when this starts happening.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they have no connection to your hearing. These are subtle signs, without a doubt, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing begins to decline, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And straining like this over prolonged periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Trouble concentrating: It may be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to accomplish your daily tasks if your brain has to invest more energy to hearing. As a result, you may observe some trouble 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.
It’s a smart plan to get in touch with us for a hearing exam if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.