Men are more likely than women to experience hearing loss. 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.
While the data demonstrates a clear gender gap between men and women, the explanation as to why has less to do with gender and more to do with lifestyle.
Noise-Induced Hearing Loss
Repeated exposure to noise above 85 decibels (dB) can cause noise-induced hearing loss. The louder the noise, the less time it takes for damage to occur.
Some common sounds that are at or above 85dB include:
- City traffic: 80-85 dB
- Motorcycles: 95 dB
- Sporting events: 100 dB
- Ambulance sirens: 120 dB
- Firecrackers: 140 dB
Activities like hunting, riding motorcycles, attending rock concerts or mowing the lawn can all put a person at risk for noise-induced hearing loss. In general, more men regularly engage in these activities than women.
Similarly, jobs like manufacturing, construction and being in the military remain male-dominated fields. These jobs often expose workers to loud noises on a regular basis throughout the years. Without proper protection, the risk of damage to the ear is high.
How to Protect Your Ears
Regardless of gender, if you engage in activities either through work or as a hobby that exposes yourself to loud noises, you are at a higher risk for hearing loss. That doesn’t mean you have to give up hunting or taking in live shows at Brick by Brick. It just means you must take the right precautions to protect your hearing, such as:
- Wear earplugs or other protective devices when engaging in loud activities.
- Keep the volume at a reasonable level while watching TV or listening to music, especially when using headphones.
- Try to limit the number of noisy appliances running at one time, if possible.
If you have additional questions about hearing loss or wish to schedule an appointment with a hearing expert, call San Diego ENT today.