It’s frequently said that hearing loss is a gradual process. It can be quite subtle for this very reason. Your hearing gets worse not in giant leaps but by little steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your ears 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 spot, treating hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide range of related disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also protect against additional deterioration with timely treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to detect the early warning signs as they are present.
Initial signs of hearing loss can be hard to spot
The first indications of hearing loss are usually subtle. You don’t, suddenly, lose a large portion of your hearing. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss camouflage 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 begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or figure out who said what. Similarly, if your left ear begins to fade, maybe your right ear starts to pick up the slack and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
First signs of age-related hearing loss
If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) may be failing due to age, there are some common signs you can watch out for:
- Struggling to hear in noisy environments: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowd is one of the things that the brain is very good at. 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 hearing these conversations is harder than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth getting your ears tested.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This is perhaps the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s classically known and mentioned. But it’s also extremely noticeable and trackable. If you’re continuously turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes increasingly tough to discern as your hearing worsens. The same goes for other consonants also, but you should particularly pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
- You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat themselves: This one shouldn’t come as a huge shock. But, typically, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. Obviously, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags about your hearing.
Look out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
A few 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 discreet.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. 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 constantly straining to hear.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re working hard. And that extended strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.
- Difficulty concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you could have less concentration energy available to get through your everyday routines. As a result, you might observe some trouble focusing.
It’s a smart 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 help you protect your hearing with the best treatment plan.
Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.