It’s often said that hearing loss is a gradual process. It can be quite subtle for this very reason. Your hearing grows worse not in huge leaps but by tiny steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be hard to track the decrease in your hearing. For this reason, it’s important to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
A whole variety of related problems, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so although it’s hard to detect, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as you can. Timely treatment can also help you preserve your present hearing levels. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be hard to identify
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a major portion of your hearing. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your day-to-day activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing starts to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow discussions or determine who said what. Likewise, if your left ear starts to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to pick up the slack and you unconsciously start tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can accomplish.
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 onset of age related hearing loss:
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds now: 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 optimum level. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
- You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. When you have a difficult time hearing something, you might request some repetition. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- Straining to hear in loud settings: One of the things your brain is amazingly good at is following individual voices in a busy room. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s happening in a crowded room. If hearing these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth getting your ears examined.
- Increased volume on devices: This is probably the single most well-known indication of hearing loss. It’s classically known and cited. But it’s also extremely noticeable and trackable. You can be certain that your hearing is starting to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
Look 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 discreet.
- Difficulty focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you may have less concentration power available to get through your everyday routines. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a result.
- Chronic headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over sustained periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator 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 always straining to hear.
It’s a smart plan to give us a call for a hearing exam if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss develops gradually. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.