Why is Hearing Loss More Common in Men?
Last updated on Jul 17, 2018
Father’s Day brings an annual opportunity to celebrate and show appreciation for Dad, but the festivities can also make slowly progressing hearing difficulties more apparent. You may have noticed parts missing from the conversation, or the television volume has been creeping louder and louder. Maybe phone conversations have become a chore of repeating yourself instead of moments to cherish.
Men are twice as likely to have hearing loss
June is Men’s Health Month, a month dedicated to raising awareness of preventable health problems and to encouraging early detection and treatment among men, making it the perfect time to address hearing difficulties. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), men are twice as likely than women to have hearing loss. This increased likelihood is attributed to environmental factors since both men and women’s ears are anatomically the same.
Noisier work and play
Noisy occupations—such as construction, factory work, or military service—are primarily male-dominated. Men who work in these types of environments are often exposed to loud noise for an extended period of time, which can cause permanent hearing damage called noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL).
On top of increased workplace noise, men are also more likely to participate in recreational activities that expose them to excessive noise, such as using power tools, riding motorcycles, hunting, and target shooting. The decibel levels of power tools like drills and table saws are so high that hearing damage can occur in less than 10 minutes. Shooting firearms can cause severe loss with a single shot.
Noise-induced hearing loss is preventable, but it is not reversible. Studies show the use of hearing protection during noisy recreational activities is quite low, especially for men over the age of 65.
Higher use of medication and tobacco
Aspirin, acetaminophen, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) may be another factor for the higher rate of hearing loss in men. A study published in The American Journal of Medicine determined that regular use of these drugs increases the risk of hearing loss in men, particularly in men below age 60.
You may know more men use tobacco than women. While many of negative health effects of smoking are well-known these days, a lesser-known effect of smoking is hearing loss as a result of ototoxic substances ingested from cigarettes. Ototoxic substances damage the ear, resulting in hearing loss or tinnitus.
Protecting and treating men’s health
Hearing loss is not reversible. It is important for men and women to preserve their hearing by wear hearing protection whenever appropriate. Earplugs or earmuffs at a loud work site cuts noise down by 15 to 30 decibels, preventing hearing loss but allowing you to still hear simultaneously.
June being Men’s Health Month is a great time to get a hearing test. In fact, hearing should be tested at least once every three years, or sooner if you notice a problem. Hearing tests are easy and painless, and can determine if you have any loss, and how mild or severe it is. Remember, once it’s gone, it’s gone for good! Hearing can not be restored, only assisted.
If you or Dad determine a hearing aid is needed, MDHearingAid offers a variety of affordable hearing solutions, all of which come with a 45-day risk-free trial, 100% money-back guaranteed. For more information, contact our hearing instrument specialists.