It’s often said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. It can be quite subtle for this exact reason. Your hearing doesn’t worsen in big leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be challenging to keep track of the decline in your hearing. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s hard to spot, treating hearing loss early can help you prevent a wide range of associated conditions, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also protect against additional deterioration with timely treatment. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be hard to spot
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. It’s not like you get up one day and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your day-to-day lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can use other clues to figure out what people are saying. Maybe 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.
Age related hearing loss – first signs
There are some common signs to watch for if you think that you or a loved one might be going through the onset of age related hearing loss:
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This may be surprising. In most situations, though, you will do this without even realizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a challenging time hearing something, you might request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this starts happening.
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: There’s something about the frequency that these sounds vibrate on that can make them particularly difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their peak. The same is true of other consonants also, but you should particularly keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
- Increased volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely recognized. It’s classically known and cited. But it’s also extremely obvious and trackable. If you’re constantly turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
- A hard time hearing in busy spaces: Picking out individual voices in a crowd is one thing that the brain is quite good at. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing worsens. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become overwhelming. If following these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself opting out of more conversations than you used to), it’s worth having your ears assessed.
Look out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have very much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, without a doubt, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign 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.
- Trouble concentrating: It may be difficult to obtain necessary levels of concentration to get through your daily tasks if your brain has to invest more resources to hearing. As a result, you might observe some difficulty focusing.
- Frequent headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over prolonged periods can cause chronic headaches.
When you detect 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 stages of hearing decline. Then, we can develop treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.