It’s often said that hearing loss is a gradual process. It can be quite insidious for this very reason. Your hearing grows worse not in big leaps but by tiny steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be challenging to keep track of the decrease in your hearing. That’s why recognizing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
An entire assortment 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 crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as you can. Timely treatment can also help you safeguard your present hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be hard to observe early signs of hearing loss
The first indications of hearing loss tend to be elusive. You don’t, suddenly, lose a major portion of your hearing. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your day-to-day activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing begins to go and can use other clues to determine what people are saying. Maybe you unconsciously begin to tilt your head to the right when your hearing begins to go on the left side.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
First signs of age-related hearing loss
There are some well known signs to look out for if you think that you or a family member may be going through the beginning of age associated hearing loss:
- A hard time hearing in busy spaces: One of the things your brain is exceptionally good at is distinguishing individual voices in a crowded space. But as your hearing gets worse, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a busy room can quickly become a chore. If hearing these conversations is harder than it used to be (or you find yourself opting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth having your ears checked.
- Increased volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is possibly the most well known. It’s classically known and cited. But it’s also easy to see and easy to monitor (and easy to relate to). If you’re continuously turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This one shouldn’t come as a huge shock. In most situations, though, you will do this without even realizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a hard time hearing something, you may request some repetition. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to differentiate.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes increasingly hard to discern as your hearing worsens. The same goes for other consonants also, but you should particularly pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have 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: It may be hard to obtain necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day tasks if your brain has to invest more energy to hearing. As a result, you might experience some trouble focusing.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re doing hard work. And that prolonged strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign 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 notice 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 development of hearing impairment. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.