It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s part of what can make it quite pernicious. Your hearing gets worse not in big leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be difficult to measure the decline in your hearing. For this reason, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
A whole variety of related issues, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s hard to notice, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Prompt treatment can also help you maintain your present hearing levels. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be difficult to identify
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. You don’t, suddenly, lose a major portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your everyday lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing starts to fade, your brain can begin 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 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
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) may be failing as a result of age, there are some familiar signs you can keep an eye out for:
- You frequently find yourself needing people to repeat themselves: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. In most cases, though, you will do this without even recognizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a difficult time hearing something, you may request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this begins happening.
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds now: 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. The same is true of other consonants as well, but you should especially keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
- Increased volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This is perhaps the single most well-known indication of hearing loss. It’s classic and often cited. But it’s also extremely noticeable and trackable. You can be sure that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
- Struggling to hear in noisy settings: One thing your brain is exceptionally good at is picking out individual voices in a busy room. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a crowded room can quickly become overwhelming. Getting a hearing test is the best choice if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a difficult time following along.
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 major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. It seems as if 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.
- Frequent headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over extended periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Difficulty concentrating: It may be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to accomplish your daily activities if your brain has to devote more energy to hearing. You may find yourself with concentration problems as a result.
When you notice any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to figure out whether or not you are experiencing the early development of hearing impairment. Then, we can develop treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.