June is known as Men’s Health Month. The purpose of Men’s Health Month is to raise awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of men and boys (unicityhealthcare.com). So is it likely for men to have hearing loss? Short answer, very likely. Hearing loss affects both men and women, however hearing loss is more likely to affect men. Men are around three times more likely to develop hearing loss over women (miracle-ear.com). Interestingly enough, research has shown that men tend to have more hearing loss in the higher frequencies which in comparison to women having more hearing loss in the lower frequencies. This is significant because having more hearing loss in the high frequencies means that the individual is more likely to have issues with understanding speech and distinguishing speech sounds and voices.
Although hearing loss is more common in men, it is also more preventable in men too. This is because men tend to work in noisy environments and do utilize hearing protection. Utilizing hearing protection at any point of life, can preserve hearing. The most common work settings for men include military, factory, and construction settings. Regardless of roles in these job settings, they produce a lot of noise. Miracle ear reports that “More than 22 million U.S. employees are exposed to harmful noise levels at work on a daily basis, yet only a few take steps to properly protect their ears in the workplace.” Many jobs and businesses know about hearing conservation and protection yet actually provide resources for their employees. Loud noises can cause permanent hearing loss after 8 hours. If you are experiencing this at your place of work, contact your supervision to see how they can accommodate you. Altering your workplace can be your first step to aiding your hearing. A study conducted by Harvard in 2015 reported, “researchers found that women were more than twice as likely as men to disclose a loss of hearing and to offer helpful suggestions about how to talk to them. A woman might say, ‘I don’t hear well out of my right ear. Can you please walk on my left side?’ (AARP com). Just by letting your communication partners know you are having difficulty can allow you to hear better.
Even though Men’s Health Month is being observed this month, hearing loss affects both men and women. If you or someone you know is experiencing issues with hearing or communication, contact your local audiologist or hearing care professional today.