Many things can affect your likelihood of having hearing loss, including age, certain illnesses and exposure to loud noises. It appears gender might be a risk factor for hearing loss as well.
Men tend to have higher rates of hearing loss than women of a similar age. However, this has more to do with lifestyle factors than any biological reasoning. In general, men tend to work in certain fields and engage in hobbies that expose them to more loud noise, which puts them at a greater risk for hearing loss.
Difference in Hearing Loss Rates Between Men and Women
Data from the 2019 National Health Interview Survey examined hearing difficulties among adults in the United States. They found that:
- Among adults aged 45 and over, men were more likely than women to have had some or a lot of difficulty or could not hear at all.
- In 2019, 7.1% of adults aged 45 and older used a hearing aid, and that use was higher among men than women in all age groups.
- 16.7% of men and 10.6% of women aged 45–64 had some difficulty hearing even when using a hearing aid, increasing to 30.9% of men and 23.5% of women aged 65 and over.
Explanations for Differences
While the data seems clear that men are at a greater risk of hearing loss than women, the primary reason is that men’s exposure to excessive noise is greater than women.
While more gender parity exists in what were typically male-dominated fields, there are still areas where men vastly outnumber women. Such fields include:
All these professions can expose people to loud noises like heavy machinery, power tools, and even gunfire. Without proper protection, these noises can contribute to hearing loss later in life, especially after years of regular exposure.
Regardless of your gender, if you work in a field where you are exposed to loud noises and do not protect your ears, your risk of hearing loss goes up. The same is true for loud hobbies or recreational activities, such as:
- Riding motorcycles and snowmobiles
- Attending loud concerts at places like Will’s Pub
- Listening to music at high volume through ear buds or headphones
- Mowing the lawn
- Using a leaf blower
How to Prevent Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Repeated exposure to noise above 85 decibels can cause noise-induced hearing loss. Thankfully by taking the right precautions this type of hearing loss is typically preventable. When exposed to loud noise whether through work or recreation, be sure to wear earplugs or other protective devices. It’s also important to keep the volume at a reasonable level while listening to music through headphones.
If you are concerned you may be experiencing noise-induced hearing loss, call Aaron’s Hearing Care and schedule a hearing test with one of our experts today.