It’s frequently said that hearing loss is a gradual process. It can be quite insidious for this exact reason. Your hearing grows worse not in big leaps but by tiny steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your hearing challenging to keep track of, especially if you aren’t watching for it. That’s why recognizing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
A whole assortment of related problems, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s hard to detect, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as you can. You will also prevent additional degeneration with prompt treatment. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
It can be hard to observe early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. It isn’t like you wake up one morning and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your everyday lives.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing starts to go, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow conversations or determine who said what. Maybe you unconsciously start 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 achieve.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) may be waning due to age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- You regularly find yourself needing people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. But, often, you won’t realize you’re doing it. When you have a hard time hearing something, you might request some repetition. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags about your hearing.
- Struggling to hear in loud environments: One thing your brain is exceptionally good at is distinguishing individual voices in a busy room. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a busy space can quickly become overwhelming. Having a hearing examination is the best choice if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- Increased volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This is probably the single most recognized sign of hearing loss. It’s classically known and cited. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to monitor (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 differentiate.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes increasingly difficult to discern as your hearing fades. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they don’t have anything at all to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Difficulty focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you could have less concentration energy available to accomplish your everyday routines. You may find yourself with concentration issues as a consequence.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another sign of hearing loss is insomnia. You may think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And straining like this over extended periods can cause chronic headaches.
It’s a good plan 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 formulate treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.