Both men and women experience hearing loss, but does hearing loss impact men and women equally? In addition to workplace and medication differences between the genders, the ability to recognize hearing loss symptoms and seek assistance may also play a role. This means it’s important to know if hearing loss can impact men and women equally and what activities to avoid and how to protect your ears.
Men have up to twice the rate of hearing loss as women, which may be due to differing workplace environments. Women participate in most industries alongside their male counterparts, but men are more likely to be employed at loud workplaces, such as construction sites.
Repeated exposure to loud noises will worsen your hearing. Sometimes the effects are acute. For example, you’re standing next to a drill while it’s running and your hearing suddenly worsens. Typically, the effects will be temporary, but they can become permanent over time. In many cases, repeated exposure to loud noises causes hearing loss to worsen over time and become a chronic condition.
Men also have higher rates of ototoxic medication use. Ototoxic means toxic to hearing and your ears. Anti-inflammatory medications, aspirin, and a host of other medications may cause your hearing to worsen over time. Some may even cause the rapid onset of hearing loss. It’s believed that men take more ototoxic medications than women, which exposes them to a greater risk of hearing loss.
Recognizing symptoms and seeking help
Women tend to be better at recognizing they are experiencing hearing loss, as well as explaining their hearing loss symptoms to others. Women also tend to be better at asking for help from hearing professionals. Because women are better at seeking assistance for their hearing loss, they usually experience fewer negative social effects and a better overall quality of life.
Another reason hearing loss is experienced differently by men and women is due to biological differences between the genders. Men tend to lose the ability to hear higher frequencies first, while women tend to lose the ability to hear lower frequencies. While both issues cause serious hearing difficulties, men typically experience more problems because they hear fewer high-frequency sounds, including high-pitched voices. This can lead to less social interaction and a greater risk of suffering from depression.
Hearing loss prevention
Preventing hearing loss requires long-term vigilance. Individuals who are employed at noisy workplaces need to wear ear protection on the job. Similarly, those who take ototoxic medications should try to find alternative medications to help prevent future hearing loss. Men should also learn to recognize their hearing loss symptoms and seek help when symptoms first occur. By being proactive and avoiding situations that can cause hearing loss, both men and women will experience better outcomes. If you believe you are experiencing hearing loss, you should contact a hearing professional as soon as possible.