It’s frequently said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. That’s why it can be quite pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t worsen in big leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be hard to track the decline in your hearing. For this reason, it’s important to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s hard to spot, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide variety of related conditions, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also protect against further degeneration with timely treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be challenging to notice early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. It’s not like you get up one morning and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your day-to-day activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can make use of other clues to determine what people are saying. 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.
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 experiencing the onset of age associated hearing loss:
- You frequently find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as a huge shock. But, typically, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. When you have a hard time hearing something, you might request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this begins to happen.
- Elevated volume on devices: This sign of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely known. It’s common and often cited. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to track (and easy to relate to). You can be sure that your hearing is starting to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
- Straining to hear in loud environments: One of the things your brain is amazingly good at is picking out individual voices in a busy space. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a busy space can quickly become a chore. Having a hearing exam is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a difficult time following along.
- You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds now: 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 particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
Look out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
A few subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they don’t have anything at all to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. You may think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Persistent headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And that prolonged strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.
- Difficulty focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration power available to accomplish your everyday routines. As a result, you may notice some difficulty focusing.
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 impairment. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.