Most people know that older adults are more likely to develop hearing loss as a result of Age-Related Hearing Loss (ARHL), but does a person’s gender also have an impact on their chances of having hearing problems?
Men are more likely than women to develop hearing loss
Decades of research data have shown that, regardless of age, men are two times as likely to develop hearing loss during their lives as women are. Hearing loss can affect anyone regardless of gender, age, or race, and every person should be vigilant about getting their hearing checked regularly. However, men—especially older men—should absolutely make it a priority to catch any issues as early as possible.
Lifestyle factors are thought to be the main reason
Contrary to long-standing beliefs, recent research suggests that men are biologically more susceptible to hearing loss than women (Nolan 2020). Prior to these recent findings, it was assumed that lifestyle factors that are more specific to men are the reason for the disparity.
One segment of these lifestyle factors is job-related. Throughout history, men have more often held jobs that place them near loud equipment and other noises for extended periods of time, such as construction, manufacturing, and military service. These industries have historically employed far more men than women, and many more men have suffered from hearing loss because of on-the-job noise exposure. The additional biologic risk makes men even more likely to be impacted by hearing loss.
Also, traditionally male hobbies tend to involve loud noises more often when compared to those that are disproportionately taken up by women. Think about activities such as car/motorcycle racing, shooting firearms, and attending sporting events.
Men and women often respond differently to hearing loss
Another issue related to gender and hearing loss is that men are typically less inclined to seek treatment when they notice a problem. (Garsteki 1999) This compounds the problem of more men overall contracting some form of hearing loss, as women who do suffer from hearing problems are usually less concerned about the stigma associated with them.
Everyone needs to be aware of the state of their hearing health
Men face some unique challenges when it comes to hearing loss. However, ARHL affects men and women alike when the hearing loss interferes with communication. The best way to get ahead of any hearing problems, regardless of gender is to visit a hearing specialist to get a full assessment of your condition. The experts at U.S. Hearing Solutions can help diagnose any issues with a comprehensive hearing exam and recommend treatment options that fit your lifestyle, so schedule a consultation at one of our hearing centers today to get started.
1. Lisa S. Nolan: Age‐related hearing loss: Why we need to think about sex as a biological variable. Journal of Neuroscience research. 18 June 2020
2. Garsteki D, Erler S. Older adult performance on the Communication Profile for the Hearing Impaired: Gender difference. J Speech Lang Hear Res. 1999; 42:785-796.