It’s frequently said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. It can be quite insidious for this exact reason. Your hearing gets worse not in huge leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be difficult to measure the decline in your hearing. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
An entire assortment of related problems, 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 possible. You will also avoid further deterioration with prompt treatment. 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
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. 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 everyday 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 make use of other clues to determine what people are saying. Similarly, if your left ear begins to fade, maybe your right ear starts to pick up the slack and you unconsciously start tilting your head just a bit.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
There are some well known signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one might be experiencing the beginning of age related hearing loss:
- Increased volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This sign of hearing loss is perhaps the most well known. It’s common and often cited. But it’s also easy to see and easy to track (and easy to relate to). If you’re constantly turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. But, often, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- Struggling to hear in loud environments: One thing your brain is exceptionally good at is distinguishing individual voices in a busy room. But as your hearing gets worse, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become overwhelming. Getting a hearing exam is the best choice 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 frequency that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially hard to hear when your ears aren’t at their peak. The same is true of other consonants also, but you should especially pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have much to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Difficulty concentrating: It may be difficult to obtain necessary levels of concentration to get through your daily tasks if your brain has to invest more energy to hearing. As a result, you may observe some trouble focusing.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. It seems like it would be easier to fall asleep when it’s quiet, but you go into a chronic state of restless alertness when you’re always straining to hear.
- Chronic headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And that sustained strain also strains your brain and can lead to chronic headaches.
It’s a good idea to give us a call for a hearing exam if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can develop treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss develops gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.