It’s often said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. It can be quite subtle for this very reason. Your hearing grows worse not in huge leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be hard to track the decline in your hearing. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big boost for your ear-defense.
Even though it’s hard to identify, treating hearing loss early can help you prevent a wide variety of related conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also avoid additional deterioration with prompt treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be challenging to observe early signs of hearing loss
The first indications of hearing loss are usually subtle. It isn’t like you get up one day and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your everyday activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing begins to go and can use other clues to figure out what people are saying. 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 achieve.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) might be waning as a result of age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- Elevated volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely recognized. It’s classically recognized and mentioned. But it’s also easy to see and easy to track (and easy to relate to). If you’re continuously turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock. But, typically, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. Obviously, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags about your hearing.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to distinguish.: There’s something about the frequency that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their peak. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
- Struggling to hear in loud environments: Picking out individual voices in a crowd is one thing that the brain is quite good at. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s going on in a crowded space. Getting a hearing assessment is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a tough time following along.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they have no connection to your hearing. These are subtle signs, undoubtedly, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. You might think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Persistent headaches: When your hearing begins to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And that sustained strain also strains your brain and can lead to chronic headaches.
- Trouble focusing: It could be hard to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your daily tasks if your brain has to devote more resources to hearing. You may find yourself with concentration issues as a consequence.
It’s a smart idea to get in touch with us for a hearing test if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the right treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.