According to hearing aid specialists (also known as an audioprosthologist) and various studies, men are more likely to experience hearing deterioration than women. In fact, men are twice as likely to suffer hearing loss than women, and yet only half as likely to seek help for it.
Another study conducted in Switzerland found that women were more likely to use their hearing aids regularly and for longer periods during the day than men.
The question is, why are men more predisposed to hearing degeneration and hearing problems than their female counterparts? One of the existing theories is that despite more and more women becoming involved in what was, up until recently, considered to be ‘male only’ professions, men still tend to work in louder environments than women. Factory, military, and construction jobs are, to this day, male-dominated occupations. These occupations almost always expose workers to loud noises on a regular basis, and it is this loud noise that can eventually have a detrimental effect on a man’s hearing. Statistics show that more than 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to harmful noise levels on a daily basis through their jobs. Worryingly still is the fact that only a few take action in order to properly protect their ears when at work.
How to Protect Hearing in the Workplace
A general exposure to very loud noise can have detrimental, long-term effects on your inner ear. This is because the noise can cause damage to the hairs or nerve cells in the cochlea which are responsible for sending sound signals to the brain. Did you know that any long-term exposure to noise of 85 decibels or higher (the equivalent of heavy traffic or the sound of a lawnmower), can lead to permanent hearing damage? It is no wonder then why those operating chainsaws or jackhammers, and who neglect to take action to protect their hearing, will tend to suffer from significant hearing loss down the line!
So, what can you do to prevent hearing damage from taking place?
- First and foremost, you will need to wear hearing protection whenever you are going to be in a loud environment for a prolonged period of time.
- The quality of the hearing protection is essential, so make sure that it meets specific standards.
- In the USA, employers are responsible for providing their employees with adequate hearing protection in certain situations. For instance, the Occupational Noise Exposure Standard (1910.95) insists that the employer provides hearing protectors to all general industry employees who are exposed to an 8-hour TWA of 85 decibels at no cost to the employees.
What Else Contributes to Hearing Loss in Men?
Gender and work conditions are definitely not the only factors that contribute to men needing and using a hearing aid. Other contributing factors include the following:
The older you get, the more likely you are to experience hearing loss. In fact, by the time you reach the age of 75, there is a 50% chance that you will require a hearing aid.
Some people are simply genetically predisposed to hearing loss and may, therefore, experience it sooner than expected, regardless of their age or their gender.
There are certain medications that can be bad for your ear health. Gentamicin (an antibiotic), sildenafil (Viagra), and some chemotherapy drugs all have the potential to damage the inner ear. If you are concerned about hearing loss regarding any medication that you are taking, always consult with your doctor.
Ultimately, it is important to be aware of hearing changes regardless of whether you are a male or an older adult. If in doubt, schedule a hearing test with a hearing aid specialist (audioprosthologist) at the Beltone hearing aid center, Chenault House of Hearing today. We will be able to assess the quality of your hearing and, if necessary, help you find the right hearing aid solution to suit your lifestyle. We accept Medicaid and most hearing aids insurance. Contact us now.