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3 people having conversation

Are Men or Women More Likely to Have Hearing Loss?

Is There a Difference In the Rate at Which Men and Women Get Hearing Loss?

Add hearing loss to the list of things that are different between men and women. According to a recent study, men are five times more likely than women to suffer from hearing loss as they age, starting as young as 20 years old.

Are Men Predisposed to Hearing Loss?

The short answer is no. In studies done on newborn babies, no discernible difference can be found in hearing ability by gender. It seems the reason men lose hearing more often than women is because of environmental factors.

Men are more likely to work in environments that cause hearing loss — loud factories, construction zones and the military — and are less likely to wear protective gear like earplugs or noise-canceling headphones while working in these areas.

Not only are men more likely to experience hearing loss, they are also more likely to ignore it and less likely to seek corrective help.

Hobbies that Lead to Hearing Loss in Men Rather than Women

In general, men participate in recreational activities that are “louder” than those recreational activities of women. It is widely known that exposure to sounds louder than 70 decibels for prolonged periods of time negatively affects hearing and can lead to hearing loss. Many activities that men are interested in produce higher decibel sounds.

NASCAR fans are exposed to around 100 decibels of sound while enjoying a race, that is about equal to the decibel range of a lawnmower — another activity more often completed, maybe not enjoyed, by men than women.

Hunting and shooting firearms are also more commonly enjoyed by men than women. Shooting any firearm results in an output of about 140 dBs, which can severely affect hearing over time. Most recreational shooters would not go to the shooting range without some kind of protection for their ears. However, most hunters don’t take precautions for their ears while hunting.

Sporting events, although enjoyed by both men and women, are overwhelmingly attended in person by men. Almost three times as many men as women attend professional sporting events in person.

These events can have a consistent decibel range of 110 dBs. The loudest sporting event on record was set by Kansas City Chief fans in 2014 at 142.2 dBs.

Lifestyle Choices Could Account for More Men Than Women Experiencing Hearing Loss

Smoking

Everyone knows that smoking is harmful to your health, but most people do not know that smoking has a very profound impact on hearing. Smoking causes problems and blockages in the eustachian tubes which leads to pressure build-up and hearing loss.

35% of men worldwide smoke, compared to only 6% of women. This discrepancy can be attributed to many more men experiencing hearing loss from smoking than women.

Alcohol Overconsumption

Although the percentage of male versus female drinkers in the United States is close, 68% to 64% respectively, more men are heavy drinkers compared with women. How does drinking heavily affect hearing?

Studies have shown that high alcohol consumption over a long period of time can result in damage to the central auditory cortex of the brain and may lead to brain shrinkage. Because the damage to the auditory nerves adds up, even moderate drinkers may risk nerve damage and hearing loss.

Poor Diet

This may not come as a surprise, but overall, women have healthier eating habits than men. What may come as a surprise is that a high-fat diet is associated with a higher risk of hearing loss.

Nutrients that are a part of a healthy diet, like vitamin B12, potassium and folic acid, act as guardians to the health of your hearing and are more often enjoyed by women. A diet that is high in carbohydrates, sugar and cholesterol negatively impacts hearing and is more commonly consumed by men.

If you or someone you love suffers from hearing loss, make an appointment with your local Beltone office and get help using the latest technology to assess and offer a solution for your hearing.

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