It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. That’s why it can be rather insidious. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in big leaps but rather in little steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your ears hard to keep track of, especially if you aren’t watching for it. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
A whole assortment of related problems, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s difficult to detect, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as you can. Timely treatment can also help you safeguard your current hearing levels. Noticing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
It can be hard to observe early signs of hearing loss
The first signs of hearing loss tend to be subtle. It isn’t like you wake up one morning and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the early 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 starts to go, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow conversations or figure out who said what. Perhaps you unconsciously begin to tilt your head to the right when your hearing starts to go on the left side.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
There are some common signs to look out for if you think that you or a family member may be experiencing the beginning of age associated hearing loss:
- You frequently find yourself needing people to repeat what they said: This might be surprising. But, typically, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. Some red flags should go up when this starts happening.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to distinguish.: There’s something about the frequency that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially hard to hear when your ears aren’t at their optimum level. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This is perhaps the single most recognized indication of hearing loss. It’s classic and often cited. But it’s also extremely noticeable and trackable. You can be certain that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
- Struggling to hear in noisy settings: Picking individual voices in a crowd is one thing that the brain is very good at. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s going on in a crowded room. Having a hearing examination is the best choice if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a difficult time following along.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have very much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Persistent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re working hard. And that extended strain also strains your brain and can translate into chronic headaches.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you could have less concentration power available to get through your everyday routines. As a result, you may observe some trouble focusing.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. You may think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
It’s a good plan to give us a call for a hearing exam if you’re noticing 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.