Hearing loss affects people of all ages and genders, and in some contexts men are more likely to be affected by it than others. Learn more about men and hearing loss in this week’s latest Audicus blog!
Hearing loss occurs in 40% of people aged 55 to 74. Roughly 80% of the hearing impaired individuals in this age bracket do not actually own a hearing aid. Up to 25% of the people that actually do have hearing aids don’t use them, and in most cases these people are men.
Men and Hearing Aids
There are a number of reasons why men and other groups of people with hearing loss may avoid using hearing aids. Hearings aids do not always function perfectly. This is more common in places where there are crowds of people.
Hearing aids are also expensive and many consistently require the use of batteries. Some people may have difficulty understanding how to adjust them for volume and other paramenters. Hearing aids can also be uncomfortable to wear and in some cases may even irritate the skin.
Having your hearing aid fit by an audiologist or speaking to your audiologist about how to use your hearing aid can help eliminate these problems.
Men and women also experience hearing loss differently at a certain age. After the age of 80, men typically experience high frequency hearing loss, whereas women typically experience low frequency hearing loss.
This may have something to do with the different ways in which male and female brains are usually structured. Men usually have more neural connections within both hemispheres of the brain. Women usually have more connections that unite the two hemispheres.
Men who are in the military, work in construction or are firefighters are at greater risk for experiencing hearing loss than the general public.
Men and the Hearing Loss Stigma
Men may shy away from using hearing aids because there is oftentimes a stigma associated with wearing hearing aids.
For many men, hearing loss is a sign of aging or becoming less functional. These fears are common to people of all genders, but for men these concerns can be especially troubling because many cultures emphasize that men need to be powerful and reliable.
Hearing loss can also be a gradual process, and some men may not actually notice that their hearing has declined and that they need a hearing aid.
Hearing loss, when left untreated and unregulated by a hearing aid, can result in progressively worse hearing and other medical conditions.
The earlier a hearing loss problem is tackled the better, and motivating people to go see an audiologist will do more good than harm.
Due to cultural influences and expectations, many men may not be comfortable speaking up about their hearing loss.
However, talking with your loved ones about hearing loss and letting them know that it isn’t a condition to be ashamed of will help give them the confidence to seek help when they need it.