Struggling with hearing? Request a hearing test appointment today.
Our health becomes a little more complicated as we get older. Changes are gradual, like differences in physical appearance down to eyesight and hearing loss. These changes rarely happen overnight, and the beginnings of an age-related hearing problem can be subtle.
Early Symptoms of Hearing Loss
It’s important to pay attention to the early signs of hearing loss before they develop further. Untreated hearing loss can leave people feeling isolated and stressed and lead to memory problems later. If any of these symptoms apply to you or a loved one, talk to your doctor or an experienced audiologist and book a hearing test.
You Can’t Hear High-Pitched Noises
Cochlear nerve synapses in the inner ear degenerate as you get older. The cochlea is the spiral-shaped bone in your ear that helps you interpret sound. Ageing lessens the effectiveness of the cochlea to distinguish high-pitched sounds like children’s voices and birdsong. If you’re finding it difficult to understand or hear high-pitched voices and sounds — it could be one of the early signs of early hearing loss.
Noisy Places Make Conversations Hard to Follow
Background noise is often at a lower pitch to human speech, particularly in consonants. In crowded areas such as shopping centres or restaurants, background noise can become overwhelming and make it difficult to hear the higher tones in human speech. As a result, you might avoid family gatherings and social situations where concentrating on speech becomes exhausting.
You’re Straining to Listen
When you’re in a noisy place with multiple people speaking, your brain is working overtime to fill in the gaps to make sense of what is being said. This requires a great deal of effort to focus, and you might feel exhausted after social events. If you’re straining to listen and feel unusually tired at the end of the day, you probably have listening fatigue.
Professionally fitted hearing aids can help ease listening fatigue from hearing loss, making conversations less of a chore, and allowing you to enjoy your social life again.
When one sense stops working correctly, the brain cleverly tries to substitute this lack of information by using another sense. In the case of hearing loss, your eyesight tries to make up for it. If you find your eyes focusing on the speaker’s mouth more than you’re accustomed to, you are likely experiencing hearing problems.
Ringing and Clogged up Ears
This can result from excessive ear wax or fluid build-up, making sounds seem muffled or dull in your ears. Ear infections increase the amount of fluid in your ear canal, leaving your ears feeling clogged or blocked.
Tinnitus is also one of the signs of hearing loss, a ringing sensation in your ears. Tinnitus is a common condition, affecting 7.1 million adults in the UK. Like lip-reading, the brain can try to fill in missing frequencies resulting in a persistent ringing noise. This could be an early sign of losing your hearing, so make sure you speak to your doctor or audiologist if you’re concerned.
You’re Turning up the Volume on the TV
If you find yourself turning up the volume on the TV more than usual, you might need to get a hearing test. TV shows often mix dialogue with music and sound effects, making it difficult to distinguish voices if you hear bass tones better. Other people will likely notice this symptom of hearing loss before you do — especially if they complain the TV is too loud.
Treatment for Hearing Loss
Untreated hearing loss can impact your daily life, causing unwarranted stress and anxiety and other mental health conditions. Sufferers can feel lonely and tired from having to concentrate on interpreting sounds. That’s why it’s crucial to get a diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible.
Consult a healthcare professional or doctor to receive an accurate diagnosis of your condition. They can evaluate your hearing and recommend a hearing device that suits your budget and lifestyle.
Hearing aids can amplify certain sounds, like those of a high frequency, without affecting your ability to hear lower frequencies. The range of hearing aids available means you can choose one that sits in the ear canal, hidden from view.
Related: Do I Need a Hearing Aid?
Your hearing should be treated as part of your overall physical health. Even if you aren’t experiencing enough early hearing loss signs to be concerned, don’t wait around.