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.

It’s often said that hearing loss is a slow-moving process. That’s part of what can make it rather pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t worsen in giant leaps but rather in little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be hard 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 identify, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide range of associated conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and even dementia. Prompt treatment can also help you preserve your current hearing levels. Observing the early warning signs is the best way to guarantee treatment.

It can be challenging to observe early signs of hearing loss

The first signs of hearing loss are usually elusive. It isn’t like you get up one day and, very suddenly, 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 extremely adaptable. When your hearing starts to go, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or figure out who said what. Perhaps you unconsciously start 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 accomplish.

First indications of age-related hearing loss

There are some well known signs to look out for if you think that you or a loved one might be going through the beginning of age associated hearing loss:

  • You frequently find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This may be surprising. But, often, you won’t recognize you’re doing it. When you have a difficult time hearing something, you might request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this starts happening.
  • Straining to hear in loud environments: Picking out individual voices in a crowded space is one thing that the brain is very good at. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing worsens. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s happening in a busy space. If following these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you used to), it’s worth having your ears checked.
  • Increased volume on devices: This indication of hearing loss is possibly the most widely known. It’s common and often quoted. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to monitor (and easy to relate to). You can be sure that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
  • You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds now: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively hard to discern as your hearing worsens. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.

Look out for these subtle signs of hearing loss, as well

Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they have no connection to your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re discreet.

  • Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. You might think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
  • Frequent headaches: When your hearing begins to decline, your ears are still struggling to hear sounds. They’re doing hard work. And straining like this over prolonged periods can trigger chronic headaches.
  • Trouble focusing: It could be hard to obtain necessary levels of concentration to accomplish your daily tasks if your brain has to devote more resources to hearing. You might find yourself with concentration problems as a consequence.

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

Hearing loss develops gradually. But you can stay ahead of it with the correct knowledge.


The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. Schedule an appointment to see if hearing aids could benefit you.