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. Hearing loss in men is more prevalent because they are typically the ones who are working in louder environments.
Factory, military and construction jobs are mostly male-dominated occupations. They’re also some of the loudest. More than 22 million U.S. employees are exposed to harmful noise levels at work 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:
Long-term exposure to some loud sounds can cause permanent damage after just 8 hours, the equivalent of one workday.
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. These drugs are known as ototoxic medications. Regular use of aspirin, acetaminophen and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications among men under 60 has been found to profoundly affect hearing loss in some men. 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:
If you have to yell over a sound, it is too loud. Remove yourself from the situation if you can, or wear ear protection.
It can be difficult to communicate with a loved one about their hearing troubles. Use our free conversation guide to prepare yourself and make sure that you're able to get help for your loved ones.
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