Men are nearly three times more likely to develop hearing loss than women.
While noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) occurs in both men and women, men are nearly 3 times more likely to develop it. That’s because men are typically the ones who are working in louder environments.
Hearing Loss at Work
Factory, military and construction jobs are mostly male-dominated occupations. They’re also some of the loudest. More than 22 million U.S. workers are exposed to harmful noise levels on a daily basis, yet only a few take steps to properly protect their ears in the workplace.
Sound is measured in decibels, with the sound of a rustling leaf registering at a 0 dB level and heavy city traffic registering at 85 dB. At 85 dB or higher, permanent hearing damage can occur. Here are just a few examples of harmful sounds workers may experience on a daily basis:
- 90 dB: Lawn mower
- 93 dB: Belt sander
- 105 dB: Bulldozer
- 110 dB: Chainsaw
- 120 dB: Jackhammer
- 140 dB: Airplane taking off
Long-term exposure to some loud sounds can cause permanent damage after just 8 hours, the equivalent of one workday.
Medications and Hearing Loss: Another Possible Cause
In addition to NIHL, research is now pointing to several medications that seem to have a strong link to hearing loss, particularly among younger men. Regular use of aspirin, acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications among men under 60 has been found to profoundly affect some men’s hearing. Regular male aspirin users under 60 were 33% more likely to experience hearing loss. Males under 50 who used acetaminophen had an astounding 99% higher chance of developing hearing loss, and those between 50 and 59 were 38% more likely.
How can you protect yourself against hearing loss? Here are a few tips you can use immediately:
- Stay away from excessive noise. If you have to yell over a sound, it is too loud. Remove yourself from the situation if you can, or wear ear protection.
- Limit the time you spend around loud sounds. Sometimes you can’t avoid being in a noisy place, but don’t spend any more time there than is absolutely necessary.
- Use hearing protection. You can reduce the decibel level by 15 to 30 dB
- Stop smoking. Tobacco use has been linked to hearing loss.
- Ask your doctor about your medications. Some antibiotics, cancer-fighting drugs and pain relievers such as aspirin and acetaminophen are directly linked to hearing damage.
Whether you are male or female, you can benefit from taking care of your hearing. It's a precious gift that can enrich your life for years to come. There is no need to be in doubt, schedule your free hearing test today!