It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. It can be rather insidious for this exact reason. Your hearing grows worse not in huge leaps but by tiny steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your hearing difficult to keep track of, especially if you aren’t looking for it. For this reason, 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 variety of related disorders, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also protect against additional deterioration with timely treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to notice the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be hard to detect early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has subtle symptoms. It isn’t like you get up one morning and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your day-to-day activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. Your brain will begin to compensate when your hearing begins to go and can make use of other clues to determine what people are saying. Likewise, if your left ear starts to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to pick up the slack and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can accomplish.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
There are some well known signs to watch for if you think that you or a family member may be experiencing the onset of age related hearing loss:
- A tough time hearing in busy spaces: Picking out individual voices in a crowd is one thing 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 a chore to try to hear what’s going on in a crowded space. If following these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth having your ears examined.
- You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds now: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their optimum level. The same is true of other consonants also, but you should particularly pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
- You’re asking people to repeat what they said frequently: This one shouldn’t come as a huge shock. In most cases, though, you will do this without realizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a hard time hearing something, you might request some repetition. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- Increased volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely recognized. It’s classically recognized and cited. But it’s also extremely noticeable and trackable. If you’re continuously turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, without a doubt, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another sign of hearing loss is insomnia. It seems as if 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.
- Difficulty concentrating: It may be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your daily activities if your brain has to devote more energy to hearing. As a result, you may notice some trouble focusing.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over extended periods can cause chronic headaches.
When you detect any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to determine whether or not you are dealing with the early stages of hearing decline. Then, we can come up with treatment plans that can protect your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. But you can stay ahead of it with the correct knowledge.