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.

Hearing loss is widely recognized to be a process that develops gradually. That’s why it can be quite insidious. Your hearing doesn’t deteriorate in giant leaps but rather in tiny steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be hard to measure the decrease 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 difficult to spot, dealing with hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide range of related disorders, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also avoid additional degeneration with timely treatment. The best way to ensure treatment is to detect the early warning signs as they are present.

It can be challenging to notice early signs of hearing loss

The first signs of hearing loss tend to be elusive. You don’t, all of a sudden, lose a large portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become folded into your day-to-day lives.

The human body and brain, you see, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing begins to fade, your brain can start to compensate, helping you follow conversations or determine who said what. Perhaps you unconsciously start to tilt your head to the right when your hearing begins 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

If you’re concerned that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) might be failing 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 sign of hearing loss is perhaps the most widely recognized. It’s common and frequently cited. But it’s also easy to notice and easy to monitor (and easy to relate to). If you’re constantly turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
  • You regularly find yourself asking people to repeat what they said: This may be surprising. But, often, you won’t realize you’re doing it. Obviously, if you have a hard time hearing something, you will ask people to repeat what they said. Some red flags should go up when this starts happening.
  • Struggling to hear in loud environments: One of the things your brain is remarkably good at is picking out individual voices in a crowded space. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. Hearing in a crowded space can quickly become a chore. If hearing these conversations is harder than it used to be (or you find yourself sitting out of more conversations than you previously did), it’s worth having your ears checked.
  • You can’t differentiate between “s” and “th” sounds anymore: 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 peak. The same is true of other consonants also, but you should particularly keep your eye on those “s” and “th” sounds.

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

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: Ironically, another indication of hearing loss is insomnia. It seems as if it would be easier to fall asleep when it’s quiet, but you go into a chronic state of restless alertness when you’re always straining to hear.
  • Difficulty focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you could have less concentration energy available to get through your daily routines. As a result, you may notice some difficulty focusing.
  • Chronic 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 trigger chronic headaches.

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’re dealing with the early stages of hearing decline. Then, we can come up with treatment plans that can safeguard your hearing.

Hearing loss progresses gradually. 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.