Hearing loss is a problem that affects millions of people all over the world, and it can be particularly devastating for men. That's because, unfortunately, many men are reluctant to seek treatment out of fear or embarrassment. In this blog post, we will discuss early symptoms of hearing loss and five steps that men can take to reduce their risk and keep their ears healthy!
Why Issues Related To Hearing Loss Are So Tough For Men
Hearing loss is one of those health problems that can be tough for anyone to deal with. It's a gradual process, so it's often hard to tell when it's happening until it's too late. And once it does happen, it can be very difficult to treat. That's why hearing loss is such a problem for men. We're not used to dealing with health issues that we can't just fix with a pill or a quick trip to the doctor. Hearing loss is different. It requires a lot of time and effort to manage, and that can be tough for us men to accept.
Additionally, men are more likely to participate in risky behaviors such as not wearing proper safety equipment and working in loud, dangerous environments. These behaviors put us at a much higher risk of developing hearing loss. And, once again, because hearing loss is such a gradual process, we may not even realize we're damaging our hearing until it's too late.
Early Symptoms Of Hearing Loss
The first step in protecting your hearing is to be aware of the early symptoms of hearing loss. These can include:
- Difficulty understanding conversations, especially in noisy environments
- Ringing or buzzing in your ears
- Turning up the volume on the television or radio more than usual
- Withdrawing from social activities because you can't hear well
If you notice any of these symptoms, it's important to see a doctor as soon as possible. The sooner you catch hearing loss, the easier it will be to treat.
Five Steps That Men Can Take To Reduce Risk Of Hearing Loss
While many causes of hearing loss are not reversible, many factors that contribute to it are easy to avoid and others can help slow the progression so that you are able to live longer without needing support from medical devices such as hearing aids.
Eat Healthy and Avoid Smoking, Drugs, and Excess Alcohol
A healthy body will have increased success in resisting many ailments and hearing loss is one of those. Whether it is supporting healthy neurological health or overall wellbeing, this is an important first step.
There's more, however. Studies have shown that smokers have a 70% greater chance of hearing loss and even non-smokers that live with smokers have a significantly increased risk. Even babies who have been exposed to tobacco smoke on a regular basis have a higher chance of developing auditory health issues later in life.
In addition to hearing loss, smoking (and being exposed to smoke) is linked to other neurological issues as well, including: tinnitus, vertigo, headaches, and dizziness.
Wear ear protection when exposed to loud noise
While not all hearing loss issues are caused by exposure to loud noises, this is a common cause that can lead to physical damage to the ear and associated organs. For men, this is particularly important to address because we are disproportionally exposed to noise levels that can be damaging.
For instance, any noise over 70dB can cause damage to your hearing and noise levels above 120 dB can cause immediate and often irreversible damage.
To put this in comparison, here are some common loud noises that men are exposed to regularly:
- Fireworks at 3 Feet - 150 dB
- Shotgun Blast - 150 dB
- Rifle Shot - 140 dB
- Jackhammer - 130 dB
- Rock Concert - 100+ dB
- Gas-powered Snowblower - 106 dB
- Small Home Appliances - hair dryer, blender, food processor - 94 dB
- Subway Train - 91 db
- Vacuum Cleaner - 70 dB
The general rule here is that if you have to raise your voice to have a conversation at close range, the noise around you is too loud and could cause hearing loss.
Avoid Situations With Loud Noises
There are some situations where it is impossible to avoid loud noises. But, when possible, it's important to try to limit your exposure to them. Some examples of common situations where men are exposed to loud noise levels include: working with power tools, mowing the lawn, participating in shooting sports, and attending concerts or sporting events.
Whenever possible, try to wear ear protection in these situations. And if you're going to be exposed to loud noise for an extended period, make sure to take breaks often so that your ears have a chance to recover.
Get Regular Medical Check-Ups And Report Any Concerns About Hearing Issues
As we age, our risk of developing hearing loss increases. So, it's important to get regular checkups, especially as you get older.
Your doctor will be able to identify any early signs of hearing loss and can refer you to a specialist if necessary. Additionally, they may be able to recommend lifestyle changes or other treatments that can help prevent or slow the progression of hearing loss.
If You Do Have Hearing Loss Symptoms Visit A Specialist
Your general physician can offer advice and conduct some hearing tests, but if you are experiencing symptoms of hearing loss, it's important to see a specialist.
Depending on the cause and severity of your hearing loss different types of specialists can help. For instance, an otolaryngologist (ear, nose, and throat doctor) can help identify any structural issues that may be causing or contributing to your hearing loss. An audiologist can conduct more comprehensive hearing tests as well as help you with testing for hearing aids if that's something that they feel is needed. Finally, a neurologist can help with neurological issues relating to nerve damage for instance.
Hearing loss is a common problem, especially as we age. But there are things that you can do to reduce your risk. By following the tips above, you can help ensure that you'll enjoy good hearing health for many years to come.
Hearing loss is a serious issue that can have a profound impact on your life. However, by taking some simple steps, you can greatly reduce your risk of developing this condition.