It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s part of what can make it rather pernicious. Your hearing gets worse not in giant leaps but by tiny steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be hard to keep track of the decline in your hearing. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
Even though it’s hard to identify, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide variety of associated disorders, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also prevent further deterioration with timely treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be difficult to notice early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. You don’t, suddenly, lose a major portion of your hearing. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your everyday activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow discussions or figure out who said what. Perhaps you unconsciously begin to tilt your head to the right when your hearing starts to go on the left side.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can accomplish.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) may be failing as a result of age, there are some common signs you can keep an eye out for:
- You frequently find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock. But, often, you won’t realize you’re doing it. Obviously, if you have difficulty 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 hearing.
- Increased volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is possibly the most well known. It’s classically recognized and mentioned. But it’s also extremely noticeable and trackable. You can be certain that your hearing is starting to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
- A difficult time hearing in crowded spaces: One of the things your brain is remarkably good at is picking out individual voices in a crowded space. But your brain has progressively 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 space. Getting a hearing assessment 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 difficult to differentiate.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively tough to differentiate as your hearing fades. The same is true of other consonants also, but you should especially keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
A few subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they have no connection to your hearing. These signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. You might think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Persistent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re working hard. And straining like this over extended periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Difficulty focusing: It could 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 experience some trouble focusing.
It’s a smart 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 help you protect your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss develops gradually. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.