It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a gradual process. It can be quite insidious for this exact reason. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in big leaps but rather in tiny steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be challenging to keep track of the decrease in your hearing. Because of this, it’s important to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s difficult to identify, treating hearing loss early can help you prevent a wide range of associated disorders, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Prompt treatment can also help you safeguard your current hearing levels. The best way to ensure treatment is to notice the early warning signs as they are present.
It can be hard to notice early signs of hearing loss
Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a major portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your day-to-day lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are incredibly adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing begins to go and can use other clues to figure out 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 start tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can achieve.
First indications of age-related hearing loss
There are some common signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one may be experiencing the onset of age associated hearing loss:
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This is probably the single most well-known indication of hearing loss. It’s classically known and cited. But it’s also easy to see and easy to track (and easy to relate to). If you’re constantly turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you’re not hearing as well as you used to.
- A hard time hearing in busy spaces: Picking individual voices in a crowd is one of the things that the brain is extremely good at. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s happening in a busy space. If following 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 having your ears assessed.
- You regularly find yourself needing people to repeat themselves: This one shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. But, typically, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. When you have a hard time hearing something, you may request some repetition. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags about your ears.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to differentiate.: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them especially hard to hear when your ears aren’t at their optimum level. The same is true of other consonants as well, but you should especially pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, no doubt, but they can be a major indicator that your ears are struggling.
- Chronic headaches: When your hearing starts to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over prolonged periods can cause chronic headaches.
- 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.
- Difficulty concentrating: It may be hard to obtain necessary levels of concentration to accomplish your daily tasks if your brain has to devote more resources to hearing. As a result, you may observe some trouble focusing.
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 are dealing with the early stages of hearing decline. Then, we can come up with treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss progresses gradually. With the correct knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.