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 develops slowly. That’s why it can be rather pernicious. Your hearing doesn’t worsen in big leaps but rather in tiny steps. And that can make the gradual decline in your hearing difficult to track, especially if you aren’t looking for it. For this reason, it’s important to be acquainted with the early signs of hearing loss.

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

Early signs of hearing loss can be hard to identify

The first indications 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 everyday lives.

You see, the human body and brain, are amazingly adaptable. When your hearing begins to fade, your brain can begin to compensate, helping you follow conversations or determine who said what. Similarly, if your left ear begins to fade, maybe your right ear starts to pick up the slack and you unconsciously begin tilting your head just a bit.

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

Age related hearing loss – first signs

There are some well known signs to watch for if you think that you or a family member may be experiencing the onset of age associated hearing loss:

  • You’re asking people to repeat themselves frequently: This one shouldn’t come as a huge surprise. In most cases, though, you will do this without recognizing that you are doing it at all. When you have a hard time hearing something, you may request some repetition. When this starts happening more often, it should raise some red flags around your hearing.
  • Increased volume on the TV, radio, or mobile phone: This is perhaps the single most well-known sign of hearing loss. It’s classically recognized and mentioned. But it’s also extremely obvious and trackable. You can be sure that your hearing is beginning to go if you’re always turning the volume up.
  • A difficult time hearing in busy spaces: One thing your brain is remarkably good at is picking out individual voices in a busy room. But your brain has progressively less information to work with as your hearing gets worse. It can quickly become a chore to try to hear what’s going on in a busy space. If hearing these conversations is more difficult than it used to be (or you find yourself opting out of more conversations than you used to), it’s worth having your ears examined.
  • Consonant sounds like “s” and “th” are hard to distinguish.: These consonant sounds tend to vibrate on a wavelength that becomes progressively difficult to differentiate as your hearing worsens. You should pay particular attention to the “s” and “th” sounds, but other consonant sounds can also become confused.

You should also watch for these more subtle signs

Some subtle signs of hearing loss seem like they don’t have anything at all to do with your hearing. These signs can be powerful indicators that your ears are struggling even though they’re subtle.

  • Frequent headaches: Your ears will still be struggling to hear even as your hearing is going. They’re doing hard work. And that extended strain also strains your brain and can result in chronic headaches.
  • Restless nights: Insomnia is, ironically, an indicator of hearing loss. You might think the quiet makes it easier to sleep, but straining to hear puts your brain into a chronic state of alertness.
  • Trouble concentrating: It may be hard to achieve necessary levels of concentration to get through your daily activities if your brain has to invest more resources to hearing. You might find yourself with concentration issues as a consequence.

It’s a good plan to give us a call 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.