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.

Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that progresses gradually. It can be rather insidious for this exact reason. Your hearing doesn’t get worse in giant leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not watching closely, it can be challenging to measure the decrease in your hearing. That’s why identifying the first signs of age-related hearing loss can be a big help for your ear-defense.

Even though it’s hard to spot, treating hearing loss early can help you prevent a wide range of associated conditions, like depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also avoid further degeneration with timely treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to detect the early warning signs as they are present.

Early signs of hearing loss can be hard to identify

Early hearing loss has elusive symptoms. It’s not like you get up one day and, all of a sudden, you can’t hear anything lower than 65 decibels. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your day-to-day lives.

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

But your ears and brain can only compensate so much.

First signs 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 onset of age associated hearing loss:

  • You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This one shouldn’t come as a huge shock. In most situations, though, you will do this without realizing that you are doing it at all. Naturally, 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 around your hearing.
  • Increased volume on devices: This sign of hearing loss is perhaps the most well known. It’s classically known 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.
  • Straining to hear in loud settings: Distinguishing individual voices in a crowded space is one thing 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 going on in a busy room. Having a hearing test is the best choice if you find yourself steering clear of more conversations because you’re having a tough time following along.
  • You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes increasingly tough 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.

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

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

  • Trouble focusing: If your brain is having to devote more resources to hearing, you may have less concentration power available to get through your everyday routines. As a result, you may observe some difficulty focusing.
  • Frequent headaches: When your hearing starts to decline, your ears are still straining to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over prolonged periods can cause chronic headaches.
  • Restless nights: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. You may think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.

When you notice any of these signs of age-related hearing loss, it’s important to schedule an appointment with us to identify whether or not you’re dealing with the early stages of hearing decline. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the best treatment plan.

Hearing loss is a slowly advancing process. With the correct 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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