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 commonly said that hearing loss is a gradual process. That’s why it can be quite insidious. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in big leaps but rather in tiny steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be hard to track the decrease in your hearing. For this reason, it’s important to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.

Even though it’s hard to identify, treating hearing loss early can help you prevent a wide range of associated disorders, such as depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also avoid additional degeneration with timely treatment. Detecting the early warning signs is the best way to ensure treatment.

Early signs of hearing loss can be hard to identify

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

The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing starts to fade, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow discussions or determine who said what. Similarly, if your left ear starts to fade, perhaps your right ear starts to compensate and you unconsciously start tilting your head just a bit.

But there’s only so much compensation that your brain can accomplish.

First indications of age-related hearing loss

If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a family member) may be waning as a result of age, there are some familiar signs you can keep an eye out for:

  • Increased volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This indication of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely known. It’s classic and frequently quoted. But it’s also easy to see and easy to track (and easy to relate to). You can be certain that your hearing is starting to go if you’re constantly turning the volume up.
  • A tough time hearing in crowded spaces: One of the things your brain is remarkably good at is following individual voices in a crowded space. But as your hearing worsens, your brain has less information to work with. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s going on in a crowded space. If hearing these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself opting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth having your ears checked.
  • You can’t tell the difference between “s” and “th” sounds now: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively difficult to differentiate as your hearing fades. The same is true of other consonants as well, but you should particularly pay attention to those “s” and “th” sounds.
  • You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This may be surprising. But, often, you won’t realize 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 begins to happen.

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

A few 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 probably think the quiet makes it easier to fall asleep, but the strain puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
  • Difficulty focusing: It could be difficult to obtain necessary levels of concentration to get through your daily activities if your brain has to invest more energy to hearing. As a result, you might notice some difficulty focusing.
  • Persistent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re working hard. And that sustained strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.

It’s a good plan to get in touch with us for a hearing test if you’re experiencing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then, we can come up with treatment plans that can protect your hearing.

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.