Chances are that you know more men than women with hearing loss. Licensed Hearing Instrument Specialist in our West Des Moines clinic, Eric Wolvers, explains, “Most studies show that men are more likely to have a high-frequency hearing loss because they tend to work in noisy environments as mechanics, firefighters, farmers, factory workers, etc. Over time, prolonged exposure to loud noise damages the high-frequency hair cells in the cochlea.”

The cochlea is a spiral- or snail shell-shaped cavity in the inner ear that transmits sound vibrations that can be translated by the brain into words.

What Does High-Frequency Hearing Loss Mean?

Those with a high-frequency hearing loss would have trouble hearing sounds the letters “f,” “s,” and “th” make, and high-pitched sounds like birds chirruping. “The result of a high-frequency hearing loss is trouble understanding words. Sounds are loud enough, but not coherent.” Eric continues, “Women’s and children’s voices are especially difficult to understand for those with a high-frequency hearing loss because they are generally softer spoken. Most men with a high-frequency loss say people mumble, or they frequently have to ask people to repeat themselves.” These symptoms are good indicators that it’s time to get your hearing screened to determine if you have a hearing loss. “Hearing aids are the best-proven way to correct a high-frequency loss,” Eric says. “With hearing aids, you can hear and understand the sounds you were missing without amplifying the sounds you don’t have difficulty hearing.”

It’s Not About Getting Old

“Most men are concerned that getting hearing aids makes them an old man. That is not true at all!” Eric exclaims. “I have patients ranging from 22 to over 95 years old, and that proves that hearing loss can happen at any age.”

Getting a hearing aid doesn’t mean you’re accepting that you’re old. It says you want to take care of your overall health, to be able to hear and understand your family and loved ones, and don’t want to be left out of the conversation anymore.

“I have guys who are excited about their hearing aids because they are Bluetooth headphones along with being hearing aids,” Eric adds. “They can hear phone calls directly in the aids. They can adjust the volume, even listen to sports radio through the hearing aids. These are not your grandpa’s hearing aids!”

A Better Quality of Life

“I recently read an article that talked about why so many people have hearing loss,” Eric recalls. “Think about how many people you know that have diabetes, high blood pressure, heart failure, or have used nicotine. All four types have been found to have a direct relation to early onset of hearing loss, and men are at a higher risk for most, if not all, of them. Add that to louder work environments, and it’s no wonder more men need help with hearing loss. If your dad, grandpa, uncle, neighbor, or friend has a hearing issue, please encourage them to get help. Having your hearing screened and treated is an easy process, and will make a giant impact on their quality of life.”