Hearing loss is well recognized to be a process that progresses gradually. That’s why it can be quite pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in giant leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be challenging to track the decline in your hearing. Because of this, it’s important to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
An entire assortment of related problems, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from untreated hearing loss, so although it’s hard to notice, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. Timely treatment can also help you safeguard your current hearing levels. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
It can be difficult to notice early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. It’s not like you wake up one day and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your everyday lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are incredibly adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing starts 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 starts 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) might be failing because of age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- Increased volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This sign of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely recognized. It’s classic and often quoted. But it’s also easy to notice 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.
- A tough time hearing in crowded spaces: One thing your brain is remarkably good at is picking out individual voices in a busy room. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become a chore. If following these conversations is harder than it used to be (or you find yourself opting out of more conversations than you used to), it’s worth having your ears checked.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to differentiate.: 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 especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.
- You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This one shouldn’t come as much of a shock. In most instances, though, you will do this without even recognizing that you are doing it at all. Naturally, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. Some red flags should go up when this begins to happen.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t appear 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.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. You might think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Difficulty concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration energy available to accomplish your everyday routines. You may find yourself with concentration issues 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 cause chronic headaches.
When you notice any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to figure out whether or not you’re dealing with the early development of hearing decline. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss develops gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the correct knowledge.