It’s frequently said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s part of what can make it quite insidious. Your hearing doesn’t worsen in big leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be challenging to track the decrease in your hearing. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.
A whole variety of related problems, such as anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s difficult to detect, it’s crucial to get hearing loss treated as early as you can. You will also prevent additional degeneration with timely treatment. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.
Early signs of hearing loss can be difficult to spot
The first indications of hearing loss are usually subtle. It’s not like you get up one morning and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your everyday lives.
You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing begins to go, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow conversations or determine who said what. Likewise, if your left ear starts to fade, maybe your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously start tilting your head just a bit.
But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can achieve.
Age related hearing loss – initial signs
There are some well known signs to watch for if you think that you or a family member may be going through the onset of age related hearing loss:
- You frequently find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This may be surprising. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to differentiate.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively difficult to differentiate as your hearing worsens. The same goes for other consonants also, but you should especially keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
- A difficult 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 progressively less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s happening in a crowded room. Having a hearing test is the best choice if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a difficult time following along.
- Increased volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This is probably the single most recognized sign of hearing loss. It’s classically recognized and cited. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to track (and easy to relate to). You can be certain that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too
Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they have no connection to your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Persistent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over sustained periods can cause chronic headaches.
- Restless nights: Ironically, another sign of hearing loss is insomnia. 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 always straining to hear.
- Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you could have less concentration energy available to accomplish your daily routines. As a result, you may experience some difficulty focusing.
It’s a smart idea to give us a call for a hearing test if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can formulate treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. But you can stay ahead of it with the correct knowledge.