Does Hearing Loss Impact Men and Women Differently?
Men and women obviously have a variety of biological differences, and some illness and disease is higher risk for one gender over the other. For example, men are more prone to hypertension, high cholesterol, and cardiovascular disease while women are more prone to anxiety and depression. Hearing loss is one of these types of health issues which is significantly more prevalent in men than in women.
How does hearing loss affect men and women differently?
Many women would be quick to attest that men seem to have a harder time listening. Is there any biological basis in this line of thinking? While hearing loss does impact men and women differently, the discrepancy is not a biological one. Women and men are born with the same auditory capability, so the higher risk for hearing loss men are experiencing is based on a range of environmental and behavioral factors.
Why are men more prone to hearing loss?
Some studies show that men are up to 5 times more likely to experience hearing loss than women. Even with this considerably higher prevalence of affliction, men are still far less likely to seek assistance for the problem. Not exactly a winning combination.
Some factors that contribute to increased incidence of hearing loss in men are:
· Occupational hazards
· Hobbies and interests
· Lifestyle choices
While the number of women getting involved in the trades is increasing all the time, there are still an assortment of demanding physical jobs that are much more male-centric. Construction work, one of the noisiest occupations out there, is a prime example. Women make up less than 10% of the total construction industry. When you think of all the loud tools and heavy machinery involved it is not to difficult to see why construction workers are at a high risk for hearing loss.
Hobbies and Interests
Men are also likely to engage in louder hobbies than women. Some traditional masculine pursuits like loud cars, motorcycles, and guns can also play a role in loss of hearing. Men also tend to use more power tools to fix things around the house, and even steady exposure to a noisy lawnmower can affect hearing. Men often listen to music at higher volumes and attend more loud concerts and sporting events on a frequent basis.
Men are generally more inclined to engage in excessive alcohol and tobacco consumption than females. These bad habits and poor diet can lead to high blood pressure and heart issues which have been associated with hearing loss.
Difference in Hearing Frequencies Between Men and Women
Men and women typically begin to experience hearing problems at different sound frequency levels. Men often lose the ability to hear high frequency sounds first, while women with hearing loss have more difficulty with lower level frequencies. This does play a role in the ability to hear certain environmental sounds, but it can also have considerable impact on communication. Consonants are generally high frequency sounds which men have more trouble picking up. Vowels are commonly more difficult to distinguish for women with low frequency hearing loss. You can see how this may influence effective communication, perhaps this sheds some light on the communication gap often felt between men and women!
Tips and Suggestions
· Regardless of gender, anyone who is experiencing any degree of hearing loss should get checked out as soon as possible by hearing professional
· As we get older, it is also crucial for both men and women to have their hearing assessed regularly
· Men should be especially diligent with their hearing care to help prevent hearing loss
- Wear protective ear plugs or ear muffs in loud environments
- Get over the stigma that wearing a hearing aid somehow makes you look weak
- Address symptoms of hearing loss immediately
- Addressing hearing problems in their early stages can help prevent permanent damage and the onset of related health problems