Hearing loss is well known to be a process that develops gradually. That’s why it can be rather insidious. Your hearing gets worse not in huge leaps but by tiny steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your ears difficult to keep track of, particularly if you aren’t watching for it. That’s why knowing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big help for your ear-defense.
A whole variety of related issues, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so although it’s hard to notice, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. You will also protect against additional degeneration with prompt treatment. Detecting 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 are usually subtle. It’s not like you get up one day and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your day-to-day lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing starts to go, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow discussions or figure out who said what. Perhaps 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 indications of age-related hearing loss
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) may be waning as a result of age, there are some common signs you can watch out for:
- A tough time hearing in crowded spaces: One of the things your brain is amazingly good at is following individual voices in a crowded space. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded room can quickly become overwhelming. If following these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you used to), it’s worth having your ears examined.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to distinguish.: There’s something about the frequency 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 confused.
- Increased volume on devices: This sign of hearing loss is possibly the most well known. It’s classically recognized and mentioned. 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 asking people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as a huge shock. But, often, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. Obviously, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. Some red flags should go up when this begins happening.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have very much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, no doubt, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Trouble concentrating: It may be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to accomplish your daily tasks if your brain has to devote more energy to hearing. As a result, you may observe some difficulty focusing.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re working hard. And straining like this over sustained periods can cause chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. 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 test if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can develop treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.