Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that develops slowly. That’s why it can be rather pernicious. Your hearing grows worse not in huge leaps but by little steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your ears difficult to track, especially if you aren’t looking for it. For this reason, it’s important to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
A whole variety of related problems, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so even though it’s difficult to detect, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as you can. You will also avoid additional degeneration with prompt treatment. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be difficult to identify
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. You don’t, suddenly, lose a large portion of your hearing. 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. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow discussions or figure out who said what. Perhaps 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 – first signs
There are some common signs to watch for if you think that you or a loved one might be going through the beginning of age related hearing loss:
- Struggling to hear in loud environments: One of the things your brain is exceptionally good at is picking out individual voices in a busy space. 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 room. Having a hearing assessment is the best option if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to distinguish.: 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. 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 is perhaps the single most recognized sign of hearing loss. It’s classically recognized and cited. But it’s also extremely obvious and trackable. You can be certain that your hearing is starting to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This may be surprising. In most situations, though, you will do this without even recognizing that you are doing it at all. 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 around your ears.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have much to do with your hearing. These signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign 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 constantly straining to hear.
- Difficulty focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration energy available to accomplish your daily routines. As a result, you may notice some trouble focusing.
- Chronic headaches: When your hearing begins to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And that prolonged strain also strains your brain and can lead to chronic headaches.
It’s a smart idea to give us a call for a hearing test 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 develops gradually. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.