Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that develops slowly. That’s why it can be rather insidious. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in giant leaps but rather in little steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your ears difficult to keep track of, especially if you aren’t looking for it. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
A whole assortment of related issues, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so although it’s difficult to detect, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. 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.
It can be hard to notice early signs of hearing loss
The first signs 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 hide themselves in your day-to-day activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or determine who said what. Similarly, if your left ear starts 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.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) may be failing as a result of age, there are some familiar signs you can keep an eye out for:
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This one shouldn’t come as a huge shock. But, often, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. When you have a challenging time hearing something, you might request some repetition. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This is probably the single most recognized indication of hearing loss. It’s classically known and cited. But it’s also easy to see and easy to track (and easy to relate to). If you’re frequently turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
- Straining to hear in loud settings: One thing your brain is amazingly good at is distinguishing individual voices in a busy room. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing worsens. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s happening in a crowded room. Getting a hearing examination is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a difficult time following along.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: There’s something about the frequency that these sounds vibrate on that can make them particularly difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their peak. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they don’t have anything at all to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Difficulty concentrating: It may be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day tasks if your brain has to devote more energy to hearing. As a result, you may notice some difficulty focusing.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. You probably think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re doing hard work. And that extended 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 figure out whether or not you’re experiencing the early development of hearing decline. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. But you can stay ahead of it with the correct knowledge.