It’s often said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. It can be rather insidious for this exact reason. Your hearing grows worse not in big leaps but by little steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your hearing hard to keep track of, particularly if you aren’t looking for it. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s difficult to detect, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide variety of related disorders, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also protect against additional degeneration with prompt treatment. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
It can be challenging to observe early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. It isn’t like you wake up one day and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your everyday activities.
You see, the human body and brain, are extremely adaptable. When your hearing starts to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or determine who said what. Perhaps you unconsciously start 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
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) might be waning due to age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- Elevated volume on devices: This sign of hearing loss is possibly the most widely recognized. It’s common and frequently cited. But it’s also very noticeable and trackable. You can be sure that your hearing is starting to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
- A tough time hearing in crowded spaces: Picking out individual voices in a crowd is one of the things that the brain is quite good at. But as your hearing gets worse, your brain has less information to work with. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s happening in a busy space. Getting a hearing assessment is the best choice if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a difficult time following along.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to distinguish.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively hard to discern as your hearing worsens. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
- You frequently find yourself asking people to repeat themselves: This may be surprising. But, typically, you won’t realize 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 begins happening.
You should also watch for these more subtle signs
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have much to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Chronic headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And straining like this over sustained periods can cause chronic headaches.
- 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. As a result, you may notice some trouble focusing.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. It seems like 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.
When you notice any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to identify whether or not you are dealing with the early development of hearing impairment. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.