Those Most At Risk

  • Veterans
  • Firemen
  • Musicians
  • Factory Workers
  • Police Officers
  • Pilots
  • Hunters

A recent report made by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has shown that men are more likely to suffer from hearing loss than women. This may seem confusing, since men and women both have the same ear structure. The causes, according to the study, are due to environmental factors, and not biologically caused.

Noisy Work Environments

Almost half of the Americans living with hearing loss suffer from noise-induced hearing loss, which is caused by longtime exposure to excessive noise, slowly deteriorating their ability to hear. Quite often this sound comes from noisy work environments, which are generally male-dominated settings, such as construction sites and factories. Other loud environments men are around are target shooting, hunting, using power tools, and military service are also considered common noise-induced hearing loss sources.

Another cause for the increased rate of hearing loss in men is the use of analgesics, such as aspirin, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS), and acetaminophen. In 2010, a study funded by the Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary Foundation discovered that regular use of analgesics was associated with an increased risk of hearing loss.

Hearing Loss Explained

A Massachusetts hearing clinic recently conducted a study that suggested women are better than men at explaining hearing loss to others in a way that fosters better communication. Women readily offer more suggestions to make communication easier, such as asking a friend to speak in their ‘good ear.’ Men generally prefer a direct approach, disclosing their hearing loss when it’s necessary, but tend to not elaborate or make suggestions that would ease communication. This may contribute to why more men suffer from hearing loss, as to when they first discover that their hearing is getting worse, than may be unlikely or unwilling to explain the problem to their loved ones, friends, and even their doctor.

Protecting Men from Hearing Loss

How can we reverse the trend that men experience hearing loss more than women, and protect their hearing? Due to excessive noise being one of the most influential factors in causing hearing loss in men, an important precaution to be taken is using protective gear while working in noisy environments. If working on a factory floor or in construction, using ear protection can safeguard your hearing and prevent further loss!

Employers are obligated legally to provide ear protection for workers when noises reach a certain decibel level, but if an individual is uncomfortable with the noise levels at work, they can certainly bring their own protection, such as earmuffs. When using firearms, always wear ear protection, it can even safeguard your ears when mowing the lawn. Prolonged noise from tools such as a lawn mower or a chainsaw can certainly damage one’s hearing. Once it’s gone, a person’s hearing cannot be restored, so make sure to protect your hearing!

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