Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that progresses gradually. It can be quite insidious for this exact reason. Your hearing doesn’t worsen in big leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be difficult to keep track of the decrease in your hearing. For this reason, it’s important to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s difficult to detect, dealing with hearing loss early can help you prevent a wide variety of associated conditions, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Prompt treatment can also help you maintain your current hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to notice the early warning signs as they are present.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be hard to spot
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. It isn’t like you get up one morning and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your everyday lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are incredibly adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing begins to go and can make use of other clues to figure out what people are saying. Maybe 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 well known signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one may be experiencing the beginning of age related hearing loss:
- Increased volume on devices: This is perhaps the single most recognized indication of hearing loss. It’s common and often cited. But it’s also easy to see and easy to track (and easy to relate to). You can be certain that your hearing is starting to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
- A hard time hearing in crowded spaces: One thing your brain is remarkably good at is following individual voices in a crowded room. But as your hearing gets worse, your brain has less information to work with. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s happening in a crowded space. Getting a hearing assessment is the best choice if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to distinguish.: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their peak. The same is true of other consonants as well, but you should particularly keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This one shouldn’t come as a huge shock. But, often, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. When you have a difficult time hearing something, you may request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this starts happening.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have much to do with your hearing. These signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Trouble concentrating: It may be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your daily tasks if your brain has to invest more energy to hearing. You may find yourself with concentration problems as a result.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. You might think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Persistent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re working hard. 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 determine whether or not you are experiencing the early stages of hearing impairment. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.