It’s often said that hearing loss is a gradual process. It can be rather subtle for this exact reason. Your hearing gets worse not in huge leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be hard to track the decline in your hearing. That’s why knowing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big help for your ear-defense.
Even though it’s difficult to spot, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide variety of associated disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Timely treatment can also help you maintain your present hearing levels. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.
It can be challenging to observe early signs of hearing loss
The first indications of hearing loss are usually elusive. It isn’t like you get up one day and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your day-to-day activities.
The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. When your hearing begins to fade, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or determine who said what. Similarly, if your left ear starts to fade, maybe 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
If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) might be failing as a result of age, there are some familiar signs you can watch out for:
- You regularly find yourself needing people to repeat themselves: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. But, typically, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. Naturally, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags around your ears.
- Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This is perhaps the single most recognized indication of hearing loss. It’s classically recognized and mentioned. But it’s also extremely noticeable and trackable. If you’re frequently 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 now: 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 particularly pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
- Struggling to hear in noisy settings: One of the things your brain is amazingly good at is following individual voices in a busy space. But as your hearing gets worse, your brain has less information to work with. It can quickly become overwhelming to try to hear what’s happening in a busy space. Having a hearing exam is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs
Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they have no connection to your hearing. These signs can be strong indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.
- Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. You might think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
- Trouble concentrating: It may be difficult to obtain necessary levels of concentration to accomplish your day-to-day tasks if your brain has to devote more energy to hearing. You may find yourself with concentration problems as a consequence.
- Persistent 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.
It’s a smart idea to get in touch with us for a hearing assessment if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can come up with treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.
Hearing loss develops gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the correct knowledge.