Hearing is very important of the senses which help adults carry on with their work and social life. The same hearing sense helps children hear speech sounds among others and help them acquire speech and language.
It is generally well understood about sensory organs lose their acuity with aging. Hearing acuity also reduces with aging and infact that is the biggest known cause of permanent hearing loss. This article shall help all women understand about all the known risk factors of hearing loss and also something about prevention and treatment options for hearing loss.
It is now clear that women have a very different way of aging when hearing is concerned. To understand the same better we need to know the concept of an audiogram. An Audiogram is the graphical representation of hearing acuity which is measured across 6-7 sound frequency zones. The audiogram curve which is a flat line at 20 years of age for both men and men, starts descending at different frequencies as they age, depicting deteriorating hearing acuity (shown in the picture). It is also clear that deterioration is faster in men till 50 years of age and after 50yrs, it is equally faster in both genders.
However, there are clear cut differences between how women and men hear and this persists even after 50 years. The audiogram is a typical-averaged audiogram seen in men and women at 65-70 years age. It clearly demonstrates a gender difference in hearing, women faring better at sound frequency zone above 1000 Hz and men faring better in the sound frequency zone below 1000 Hz.
What it means in real life? There are two important things: Firstly, women hear better than men but they still need some help from an audiologist. Secondly, there are other health risks such as diabetes, usage of pain relieving drugs and heart ailments which seem to affect women’s hearing more adversely than that of men. Women need different solutions than men.
a) Diabetes can cause Diabetes Cochleopathy to ears just like it causes Diabetes Retinopathy to eyes. It is very important that Diabetes be kept under control especially after 40 years of age.
b) Usage of pain relieving drugs such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen more than twice per week seem to be a direct hit their hearing acuity. Their hearing deteriorates faster than other women who don’t use these drugs that often.
c) Heart diseases or circulatory diseases make hearing weaker faster than that happens in men with same diseases. Keeping these diseases on check through medicine, life style changes, diet changes and regular exercise helps preserve their hearing too.
For women after 40 years, it is important to get annual hearing check. There are several justifications for the same. Women generally give and receive less attention for their hearing problems just like their family members and hence hearing loss gets unnoticed. Untreated hearing loss leads to several misunderstandings with her spouse and family members, which easily leads to depression among other consequences such as a fall in a bathroom or on the stairs.
The audiologist not only tests and provides a detailed counselling on their current hearing acuity, he also provides hearing solutions such as digital hearing aids. Men have slightly different needs such as style, hearing loss, hearing situations, cosmetically appealing solutions which lead them to choose different type of digital hearing aids. Women generally give utmost importance to cosmetically appealing hearing aids and they have 3 usual choices: Completely-in-canal (CIC), micro CIC and Invisible-in-canal (IIC) hearing aids.
Fitting them as per the latest understanding and proper verification of the fit is also essential for successful usage of hearing aids and deriving maximum benefit out of these devices. As they say, a woman’s ear is worth for more than rubies and pearls! Wish you happy hearing on women’s day!