It’s often said that hearing loss is a gradual process. It can be quite subtle for this exact reason. Your hearing grows worse not in huge leaps but by 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.
Even though it’s hard to spot, treating hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide variety of related disorders, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Prompt treatment can also help you maintain your current hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be challenging to detect early signs of hearing loss
The first signs of hearing loss are usually elusive. 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 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 starts to go and can make use of other clues to determine what people are saying. Perhaps 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 accomplish.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) might be failing as a result of age, there are some common signs you can keep an eye out for:
- You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This may be surprising. In most instances, though, you will do this without even realizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a hard time hearing something, you may request some repetition. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags about your ears.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to distinguish.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively difficult to differentiate as your hearing worsens. The same goes for other consonants as well, but you should especially pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
- Increased volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is possibly the most widely known. It’s classically known and mentioned. But it’s also easy to see and easy to track (and easy to relate to). You can be certain that your hearing is starting to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
- A difficult time hearing in crowded spaces: One of the things your brain is remarkably good at is following individual voices in a crowded room. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s going on in a busy room. If hearing these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself opting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth getting your ears tested.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they don’t have anything at all to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- Frequent headaches: When your hearing starts to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re working hard. And straining like this over sustained periods can trigger chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. It seems as if it would be easier to sleep when it’s quiet, but you go into a chronic state of restless alertness when you’re always straining to hear.
- Difficulty concentrating: It may be difficult to obtain necessary levels of concentration to accomplish your daily activities if your brain has to devote more energy to hearing. You may find yourself with concentration problems as a result.
It’s a good idea to give us a call for a hearing assessment if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.