The First Signs of Age Related Hearing Loss

Up close look at a thumb pressing the up button on the volume function of a tv remote.

Hearing loss is well recognized to be a process that progresses gradually. That’s part of what can make it quite pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in big leaps but rather in tiny steps. And that can make the progressive decline in your ears challenging to keep track of, particularly if you aren’t looking for it. For this reason, it’s important to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.

Even though it’s difficult to identify, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide range of related disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Timely treatment can also help you safeguard your current hearing levels. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.

Initial signs of hearing loss can be hard to identify

The first indications of hearing loss tend to be elusive. It’s not like you get up one morning and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything quieter than 65 decibels. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your day-to-day activities.

The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing begins to fade, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow discussions or figure out who said what. Perhaps you unconsciously begin to tilt your head to the right when your hearing begins to go on the left side.

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 look out for if you think that you or a family member may be going through the onset of age associated hearing loss:

  • You’re asking people to repeat what they said frequently: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. In most cases, though, you will do this without realizing that you are doing it at all. Naturally, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat themselves. Some red flags should go up when this starts happening.
  • Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are tough to distinguish.: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a wavelength that becomes increasingly tough to differentiate as your hearing fades. The same goes for other consonants as well, but you should particularly pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
  • A hard time hearing in crowded spaces: Picking out individual voices in a crowd is one thing that the brain is extremely good at. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. Hearing in a crowded room can quickly become a chore. Having a hearing assessment is the best option if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
  • Elevated volume on devices: This is perhaps the single most well-known indication of hearing loss. It’s classic and often quoted. But it’s also very obvious and trackable. You can be sure that your hearing is starting to go if you’re always turning the volume up.

Keep your eye out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, too

There are some signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have very much to do with your hearing. These are subtle signs, no doubt, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.

  • Difficulty concentrating: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you could have less concentration power available to accomplish your daily routines. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a consequence.
  • Frequent headaches: When your hearing begins to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And that prolonged strain also strains your brain and can translate into chronic headaches.
  • Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. 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 always straining to hear.

It’s a good plan to give us a call for a hearing exam if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can develop treatment plans that can protect your hearing.

Hearing loss is a slow-moving process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.

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References

https://www.healthyhearing.com/report/46306-Hearing-loss-auditory-deprivation

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/hearing-loss/symptoms-causes/syc-20373072

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

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