Men's Hearing Health Fact Sheet

Man and boy
  • Healthy hearing is important for men of all ages.
  • Six out of 10 people with hearing loss are men.
  • More than 15 million men in the United States have a unaddressed hearing loss.
  • Approximately 60% of men with hearing loss are under retirement age.
  • Problems following conversations, missed social cues, the inability to distinguish speech from background noise, and the need to keep the TV or radio turned up to a high volume are all symptoms of hearing loss.
  • According to a BHI survey, fewer than 15 percent of people who received a physical exam in the last year said they received a hearing screening by their physician or nurse during that exam.
  • Numerous studies have linked untreated hearing loss to a wide range of physical and emotional conditions, including irritability, negativism, anger, fatigue, tension, stress, depression, avoidance or withdrawal from social situations, social rejection and loneliness, reduced alertness and increased risk to personal safety, impaired memory and ability to learn new tasks, reduced job performance and earning power, and diminished psychological and overall health.
  • People with untreated hearing loss are more likely to report depression, anxiety, and paranoia and less likely to participate in organized activities, compared to those who wear hearing aids, according to a survey by the National Council on the Aging (NCOA) of 2,300 hearing-impaired adults, age 50 or older.
  • Untreated mild to moderate hearing loss is associated with short-term memory loss, according to a Brandeis University study.
  • Certain medical conditions can affect a man's hearing.
    • Hearing loss is about twice as common in adults with diabetes compared to those who do not have the disease, according to a study funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.
    • Hearing loss may be associated with heart disease in older adults, according to a study carried out by the Population Health Program Faculty at Wisconsin University. According to the study, the prevalence of hearing loss is 54% greater among those who have a history of heart disease than in the general population.
  • Certain important and lifesaving medications can cause damage to the ear. Over time, that damage can lead to hearing loss. Men who need to take these types of medicines should have their hearing monitored, immediately address any noticeable hearing loss, and use hearing aids when deemed appropriate by a hearing health professional.
    • According to a study published in the Archives of Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery, the erectile dysfunction drug Viagra, a phosphodiesterase type 5 inhibitors (PDE-5i), may prompt long-term hearing loss among users.
    • According to a study published in the American Journal of Medicine, men who take aspirin, ibuprofen, or acetaminophen regularly are at increased risk of hearing loss. The hearing loss risk was especially noted in men younger than 60.
  • Certain lifestyle choices can affect a man's hearing.
    • Smoking and obesity could both cause permanent hearing damage, according to a study led by the University of Antwerp in Belgium. According to the study, the ability to pick out high frequency sounds was damaged in smokers and the obese. The hearing loss was found to be proportional to how much the individuals smoked and their body mass index (BMI).
    • Excessive noise damages the delicate hair cells in the inner ear.
  • Men are at highest risk for noise-induced hearing loss largely because of occupational and recreational hearing hazards.
    • According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, occupational hearing loss is the most commonly recorded occupational illness in manufacturing (17,700 cases out of 59,100 cases), accounting for 1 in 9 recordable illnesses. More than 72% of these occur among workers in Manufacturing. These numbers are particularly disturbing considering that a person's hearing loss must be determined to be work-related and the hearing loss must be severe enough that the worker has become hearing impaired, in order to be OSHA-recordable. Many more workers would have measurable occupational hearing loss but would not yet have become hearing impaired according to the CDC.
  • Men can protect their hearing before it becomes a problem. Listening to their iPods at no more than 50 percent maximum volume, wearing noise-canceling headphones when listening to music; and wearing ear protection while at rock concerts, using power tools, during target practice, and riding motorcycles are just things men can do to protect their hearing. The key is to keep all protective ear wear handy.
    • Simple foam earplugs are easy, convenient, and disposable.
    • Heavy duty ear muffs are reliable in protecting against louder, more prolonged noises.
    • Custom hearing protection molds can help musicians and regular concert-goers protect their ears while still enjoying the sound quality.
    • Keep hearing protection devices near your power tools or by the lawnmower, and keep a supply of disposable earplugs in your car.
  • Atlanta Hearing Associates Offers a FREE hearing screening and a $200 discount on premium hearing aids for all men during the month of June to commemorate Father's Day. Call today for an appointment.

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