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 well recognized to be a process that progresses slowly. That’s part of what can make it quite pernicious. Your hearing grows worse not in giant leaps but by little steps. So if you’re not paying close attention, it can be hard to measure the decline in your hearing. Because of this, it’s worthwhile to be familiar with the early signs of hearing loss.

Even though it’s difficult to identify, treating hearing loss early can help you avoid a wide variety of associated disorders, including depression, anxiety, and even dementia. You will also protect against further deterioration 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 indications of hearing loss are usually elusive. You don’t, suddenly, lose a major portion of your hearing. The symptoms, instead, become incorporated into your day-to-day lives.

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

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

Age related hearing loss – initial signs

If you’re worried that your hearing (or the hearing of a loved one) may be failing because of age, there are some familiar signs you can keep an eye out for:

  • Increased volume on devices: This sign of hearing loss is perhaps the most well known. It’s classically recognized and cited. But it’s also extremely obvious and trackable. If you’re continuously turning up the volume, that’s a sign that you aren’t hearing as well as you used to.
  • You’re asking people to repeat themselves often: This may be surprising. But, often, you won’t realize you’re doing it. When you have a challenging time hearing something, you may request some repetition. Some red flags should go up when this begins happening.
  • Struggling to hear in loud environments: Picking out individual voices in a crowded space is one of the things that the brain is extremely good at. But your brain has increasingly less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s happening in a busy room. Having a hearing test is the best choice if you find yourself avoiding more conversations because you’re having a hard time following along.
  • Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to differentiate.: These consonant sounds normally vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively tough to discern as your hearing worsens. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become mixed up.

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

  • Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, a sign of hearing loss. 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 focusing: If your brain is having to devote more energy to hearing, you could have less concentration power available to get through your everyday routines. You may find yourself with concentration problems as a result.
  • Frequent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is declining. They’re working hard. And straining like this over sustained periods can cause chronic headaches.

It’s a smart idea to get in touch with us for a hearing test if you’re noticing any of these age related signs of hearing loss. Then we can help you protect your hearing with the right treatment plan.

Hearing loss is a slow-moving 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.