It’s often said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. It can be rather insidious for this exact reason. Your hearing grows worse not in giant leaps but by little steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your ears hard to track, particularly if you aren’t watching for it. Because of this, it’s important to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
A whole assortment of related issues, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s difficult to notice, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as you can. Timely treatment can also help you maintain your current hearing levels. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Early signs of hearing loss can be difficult to identify
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a large portion of your hearing. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your day-to-day activities.
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 discussions or determine who said what. Perhaps you unconsciously begin to tilt your head to the right when your hearing begins to go on the left side.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can accomplish.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
There are some common signs to watch for if you think that you or a loved one may be going through the onset of age related hearing loss:
- A hard time hearing in crowded spaces: Picking individual voices in a crowd is one thing that the brain is extremely good at. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a crowded room can quickly become a chore. Having a hearing test is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a difficult time following along.
- Elevated volume on devices: This sign of hearing loss is perhaps the most well known. It’s common and frequently cited. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to track (and easy to relate to). If you’re constantly turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to distinguish.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes increasingly difficult to discern as your hearing worsens. The same goes for other consonants also, but you should especially pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This one shouldn’t come as a huge shock. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have a hard time 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 ears.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have very much to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Difficulty concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you may have less concentration energy available to accomplish your daily routines. As a result, you might observe some trouble focusing.
- Frequent 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. 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.
When you observe any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to identify whether or not you’re dealing with the early development of hearing impairment. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.