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Why do more men than women have hearing loss?

Did you know that more men than women suffer from hearing loss? The reasons are not biological but due to lifestyle factors.

The natural degradation of our hearing can be intensified or lessened depending on our actions as adults. Being around excessive noise, working in loud conditions, and even bad habits like smoking can affect your ability to hear later in life. Because of this, being proactive in protecting your ears is one of the only things you can do to effectively prevent hearing loss.

However, many people neglect using adequate protection when they’re around loud sounds. This excessive noise can wear down your hearing over time, leading to hearing loss. While this is not uncommon, many men find themselves in loud situations more often than women. This divide occurs both in the workplace and during leisure pursuits.

Different Occupations

While many women have successfully entered male-dominated fields, there are still some occupations that are primarily male. Construction is one example. Surrounded by heavy machinery, power tools, and hammers, those working in construction are regularly confronted with loud, excessive noise. If they are working every day for many years, this can contribute heavily to hearing loss later in life.

Far more men than women serve in the military, where gunfire and shouting aren’t unusual sounds. A man working in the trucking industry might also encounter heavy noise, along with mechanics, manufacturing, and other forms of labor. While women in these fields experience the same level of hearing degradation, there is a higher number of men working these jobs across the world. Unsurprisingly, these men often experience higher rates of hearing loss, and usually at younger ages.

Loud Hobbies

Another contributing factor to the gender divide is the difference in hobbies between the sexes. A woman might pick up a paintbrush or knitting needles when deciding upon a new hobby. Men often feel compelled to pursue more masculine past times, such as workshop, motorcycles, or firearms. Unlike art or craft, these hobbies expose men to large amounts of excessive noise.

The revving of a motorcycle, the whir of a drill, and gunfire are all loud noises that can have a negative impact on your hearing. If these sounds are repeated frequently, it can take a serious toll. Even the loud sound of a lawn mower can wear on your ears, especially if you mow the lawn every week for years. Many men also find themselves drawn to loud environments in their free time, including car races, sports games, and rock concerts. There is no way to escape noise in these environments, which makes hearing protection necessary.

However, many men choose to skip wearing earmuffs or plugs. While these things might seem embarrassing or unnecessary, they can protect your sense of hearing in the long-term.

How To Prevent Hearing Loss in Men

To avoid hearing loss, Signia recommends investing in a comfortable, reliable pair of earplugs. These often come with carrying cases, so they can be stashed in easy-to-reach locations. They can be made with different materials, including foam and wax, and most drug stores carry some form of ear protection.

If you have concerns about your aural health or want to encourage a relative to improve their hearing, getting a hearing test is the first step. If there is damage to your ears, an audiogram can help determine how mild or severe the problem is. From there, you can seek out a hearing care provider. For those unsure about getting a full audiogram, Signia offers a free online test. While this does not replace a professional screening, it can serve as a valuable preliminary indicator.