Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that develops slowly. That’s why it can be rather pernicious. Your hearing gets worse not in huge leaps but by tiny steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your hearing difficult to track, particularly if you aren’t looking for it. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
An entire assortment of related problems, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so although it’s difficult to notice, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Timely treatment can also help you maintain your present hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to notice 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. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your day-to-day lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can use other clues to figure out what people are saying. Similarly, if your left ear starts to fade, maybe your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
First signs of age-related hearing loss
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) might be failing because of age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- 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 optimum level. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This may be surprising. In most instances, though, you will do this without recognizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a hard time hearing something, you may request some repetition. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- Increased volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely known. It’s common and frequently quoted. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to monitor (and easy to relate to). You can be sure that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
- A tough time hearing in busy spaces: Picking individual voices in a crowd is one thing that the brain is quite good at. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a busy space can quickly become overwhelming. Having a hearing assessment is the best option if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, without a doubt, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re doing hard work. And that sustained strain also strains your brain and can translate into chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator 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.
- Difficulty focusing: It may be hard to obtain necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day activities if your brain has to devote more resources to hearing. As a result, you may notice some difficulty focusing.
When you notice any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to identify whether or not you’re dealing with the early development of hearing impairment. Then, we can develop treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. But you can stay ahead of it with the correct knowledge.