It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. That’s part of what can make it quite insidious. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in giant leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be difficult to track the decrease in your hearing. For this reason, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s difficult to detect, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide range of related conditions, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also prevent further degeneration with timely treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to detect the early warning signs as they are present.
Early signs of hearing loss can be difficult to spot
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. It’s not like you get up one morning and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your everyday lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing starts to fade, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or figure out who said what. Similarly, if your left ear starts to fade, perhaps 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 achieve.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
There are some well known signs to watch for if you think that you or a family member might be experiencing the onset of age related hearing loss:
- You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat themselves: This may be surprising. In most situations, though, you will do this without even recognizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a difficult time hearing something, you might request some repetition. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags around your hearing.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially hard 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.
- A tough time hearing in crowded spaces: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowded space is one thing that the brain is quite good at. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s happening in a crowded room. Getting a hearing assessment is the best choice if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a difficult time following along.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This sign of hearing loss is possibly the most widely recognized. It’s classically recognized and mentioned. But it’s also very noticeable and trackable. You can be sure that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
A few 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.
- Trouble concentrating: It may be hard 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 trouble focusing.
- Chronic headaches: When your hearing starts to decline, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And that extended strain also strains your brain and can lead to chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. You might think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
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 stages of hearing impairment. Then, we can come up with treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.