Is hearing loss more prevalent in men than women?
Awareness and lifestyle changes can help men maintain the ability to hear clearly
With Fathers day upon us and Men’s Health Month it may spur some men to get more exercise, watch their diet more closely or take a multivitamin with breakfast every morning. Others may attempt to quit smoking or vow to use sunscreen as a pre-emptive strike against skin cancer. But most men may not realize that they can also take preventive measures to ward off a serious health problem that can reduce quality of life, limit earning power and damage relationships. That serious health risk is hearing loss.
all types of hearing loss, but especially sensorineural hearing loss, is more prevalent in men than women, and the reasons are many. Noise-induced hearing loss frequently starts in the workplace, and men are more likely to work in factories or manufacturing facilities where they are exposed to loud noise for hours at a time – often throughout the entire work day. It is estimated that most shop tools expose the user to dangerous noise levels of 90 decibels or more. Studies have also found that exposure to chemicals in manufacturing plants, especially where welding is done, may have a detrimental effect on hearing.
In addition to noise-induced hearing loss, men are also at greater risk for drug-induced or ototoxic hearing loss. Drugs like aspirin and ibuprofen are readily available and widely used by regular exercisers and weekend warriors alike for muscle aches and minor strains. Men may try to “tough out” pain before seeing a doctor, but regular self-medication with seemingly innocuous drugs like aspirin can have serious consequences for hearing health. In fact, young men who are regular users of acetaminophen, ibuprofen or aspirin are far more likely to experience hearing loss at a younger age than are girls and women.
Hearing loss has serious consequences, often leading to relationship problems, a decrease in earning power, depression and a diminished quality of life. Men who suspect they have hearing loss are encouraged to make an appointment with an audiologist or other hearing professional for a hearing test to determine the type and level of hearing loss, and to begin hearing loss treatment immediately.