Age Related Hearing Loss – the First Signs

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

It’s commonly said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s part of what can make it quite pernicious. Your hearing gets worse not in huge leaps but by tiny steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your ears challenging to keep track of, particularly if you aren’t watching for it. Because of this, it’s important to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.

An entire variety of related problems, like anxiety, depression, and even dementia, can result from neglected hearing loss, so although it’s difficult to detect, it’s important to get hearing loss treated as early as possible. You will also avoid additional deterioration with prompt treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to recognize the early warning signs as they are present.

Initial signs of hearing loss can be hard to spot

Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. It isn’t like you get up one day and, very suddenly, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. Instead, the early signs of hearing loss hide themselves in your everyday activities.

The human body and brain, you see, are incredibly adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing begins to go and can use other clues to determine what people are saying. Maybe you unconsciously begin to tilt your head to the right when your hearing starts to go on the left side.

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 watch for if you think that you or a family member might be going through the beginning of age associated hearing loss:

  • Straining to hear in noisy settings: One of the things your brain is amazingly good at is picking out individual voices in a busy room. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s happening in a busy space. Having a hearing test is the best option if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
  • Boosted volume on the TV, radio, or cell phone: This is perhaps the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s classically recognized and mentioned. But it’s also very obvious and trackable. You can be certain that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
  • You frequently find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This might be surprising. In most situations, though, you will do this without realizing that you are doing it at all. Obviously, if you have difficulty hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags about your ears.
  • You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds now: There’s something about the wavelength that these sounds vibrate on that can make them particularly difficult to hear when your ears aren’t at their optimum level. The same goes for other consonants also, but you should particularly pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.

You should also be on the lookout for these more subtle signs

There are a few signs of hearing loss that don’t appear to have much to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.

  • Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. You may think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
  • Frequent headaches: Your ears will still be straining to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re doing hard work. And that prolonged strain also strains your brain and can lead to chronic headaches.
  • Difficulty focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you could have less concentration power available to get through your daily routines. You may find yourself with concentration problems as a result.

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 experiencing the early stages of hearing impairment. Then we can help you safeguard your hearing with the right treatment plan.

Hearing loss develops gradually. With the right knowledge, you can stay ahead of it.


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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