Hearing loss is well known to be a process that develops slowly. That’s part of what can make it rather pernicious. Your hearing grows worse not in giant leaps but by tiny steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your ears difficult to keep track of, especially if you aren’t watching for it. Because of this, it’s important to be familiar 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 notice, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. You will also protect against further deterioration with timely treatment. Noticing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
It can be hard to observe early signs of hearing loss
The first indications of hearing loss tend to be subtle. It’s not like you wake up one morning and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your everyday activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing begins to go and can make use of other clues to figure out what people are saying. Similarly, if your left ear starts to fade, maybe your right ear starts to pick up the slack and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can accomplish.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
There are some common signs to watch for if you think that you or a loved one may be experiencing the onset of age related hearing loss:
- Increased volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely recognized. It’s common and frequently cited. 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’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. Obviously, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags about your ears.
- Struggling to hear in loud settings: One of the things your brain is amazingly good at is picking out individual voices in a crowded space. But as your hearing gets worse, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become a chore. Having a hearing examination is the best option if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to differentiate.: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them particularly hard to hear when your ears aren’t at their optimum level. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they don’t have anything at all to do with your hearing. These signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- 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 constantly straining to hear.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing begins to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And straining like this over extended periods can cause chronic headaches.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you may have less concentration energy available to accomplish your daily routines. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a consequence.
It’s a good idea to get in touch with us for a hearing exam if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.