Do you enjoy listening to music on headphones? Are you male, a musician, or approaching your 70th birthday? A hearing health care check should be a priority if you tick the boxes for any of these characteristics.
Headphones and Hearing
Good habits of hearing health care call for lower headphone volume. According to Consumer Reports, the safest headphones are noise canceling. This is because when we are in a noisy environment headphone listeners tend to turn up the volume to dangerous levels. Noise canceling headphones eliminate some of the environmental noise and lessen the extent to which volume is adjusted.
Gender Hearing Gap
Men are more likely to experience hearing loss than women. More men than women seek noisy professions and hobbies. When was the last time you looked at the loud, bass thumping car next to you and saw a woman driving? Nine times out of ten it is a man. These things combined with a lack of proper ear protection when using firearms, power tools, or other loud machinery has tipped the scales in favor of men losing their hearing earlier than women on average. The tendency of both men and women to underestimate the need for regular hearing health care checks has contributed to undetected hearing loss.
Hearing Loss Affects Employment
If you are one of the headphone listeners mentioned above chances are you have experienced some hearing loss. Noise induced hearing loss is very common today but because of advances made in factory environments and the lack of wartime conditions it is not as great as that seen in the World War II generation. Improvements still need to be made. Technology has increased the use of headphones, earbuds, and other listening devices. Cell phones have been blamed for causing high-frequency hearing loss as well as increasing the use of headphones and earbuds. All of these factors affect hearing. Hearing loss affects the ability to communicate. Lack of communication impacts the workplace. Ear anatomy is complex. Noise affects the delicate ear hairs in the cochlea and can permanently damage them over time. The hearing may be impacted before sound waves meet the cilia if damage has been done the three middle ear bones. The health of these small bones is imperative to good hearing.
If you have experienced difficulties communicating in the workplace undetected hearing loss may be the culprit. Take time to evaluate your hearing. The importance of a hearing health care check should be a yearly priority.
Dr. JJ Martinez served active duty in the United States Marine Corps before receiving his bachelor’s degree from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2005 and his doctoral degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in 2010. Dr. Martinez is a fellow of the American Academy of Audiology and a member of the American Speech Language and Hearing Association.