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 often said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s why it can be rather pernicious. Your hearing grows worse not in big leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be challenging to track the decline in your hearing. That’s why recognizing the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big help for your ear-defense.

Even though it’s hard to detect, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide variety of related conditions, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also avoid additional deterioration with prompt treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to notice the early warning signs as they are present.

Early signs of hearing loss can be hard to spot

Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. You don’t, suddenly, lose a major portion of your hearing. Instead, the initial signs of hearing loss camouflage themselves in your day-to-day activities.

You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly adaptable. Your brain will start to compensate when your hearing starts to go and can make use of other clues to figure out what people are saying. Similarly, if your left ear starts to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to pick up the slack and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.

But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.

Age related hearing loss – initial signs

There are some common signs to watch for if you think that you or a family member may be experiencing the onset of age related hearing loss:

  • You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This one shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. But, typically, you won’t realize you’re doing it. When you have a challenging time hearing something, you might request some repetition. When this begins to happen more often, it should raise some red flags about your hearing.
  • Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are difficult to distinguish.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes increasingly tough to differentiate as your hearing worsens. The same is true of other consonants also, but you should particularly keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.
  • A tough time hearing in crowded spaces: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowded space is one thing that the brain is very good at. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing worsens. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become a chore. 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 getting your ears tested.
  • Increased volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This indication of hearing loss is possibly the most widely known. It’s classically known and mentioned. But it’s also very noticeable and trackable. If you’re frequently turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.

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, undoubtedly, but they can be a leading indicator that your ears are struggling.

  • Chronic headaches: When your hearing starts to decrease, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And that prolonged strain also strains your brain and can lead to chronic headaches.
  • Restless nights: Ironically, another sign 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.
  • Difficulty concentrating: It could be difficult to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your day-to-day tasks if your brain has to invest more energy to hearing. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a result.

When you detect any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s worth scheduling an appointment with us to figure out whether or not you’re dealing with the early stages of hearing decline. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the right treatment plan.

Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. But you can stay ahead of it with the right knowledge.


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.