It’s frequently said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. It can be rather subtle for this very reason. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in giant leaps but rather in little steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your ears difficult to track, particularly if you aren’t watching for it. For this reason, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
Even though it’s difficult to identify, treating hearing loss early can help you prevent a wide variety of related conditions, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also avoid further deterioration with timely 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 subtle symptoms. You don’t, suddenly, lose a large portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your everyday lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing begins to fade, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow discussions or determine who said what. Maybe you unconsciously start to tilt your head to the right when your hearing begins to go on the left side.
But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
There are some common signs to look out for if you think that you or a family member may be experiencing the onset of age related hearing loss:
- You regularly find yourself needing people to repeat themselves: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. In most situations, though, you will do this without even realizing that you are doing it at all. Naturally, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags about your hearing.
- Elevated volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely known. It’s common and often quoted. 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 constantly turning the volume up.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to distinguish.: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a frequency that becomes progressively difficult to differentiate as your hearing fades. You should pay especial attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.
- Struggling to hear in noisy environments: One of the things your brain is amazingly good at is following individual voices in a busy space. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing worsens. It can quickly become a chore 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 sitting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth having your ears examined.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well
There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t seem to have very much to do with your hearing. These signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.
- 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 constantly straining to hear.
- Chronic headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re doing hard work. And that extended strain also strains your brain and can lead to chronic headaches.
- Trouble focusing: It may be hard to obtain necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day tasks if your brain has to invest more resources to hearing. As a result, you may observe some difficulty focusing.
When you observe 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 develop treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss develops gradually. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.