EXPOSURE to excessive noise could be sending Aussie men deaf – and they’re not listing to the warning signs.
Going to the footy, mowing the lawn or using a leaf blower are among the male-dominated pastimes linked to noise-induced hearing loss.
Australian Hearing research director Brent Edwards said most men are unaware of what constitutes a dangerous noise level and how to protect themselves.
“Almost twice as many men suffer hearing loss compared to women and excessive noise is a leading cause. It can, however, be prevented,” Dr Edwards said.
“While we like to joke that men suffer ‘domestic deafness’ – such as ignoring requests from their partners to take out the trash – hearing loss is no laughing matter.
“This all-too-common ‘domestic deafness’ can signal a more serious issue that can affect many aspects of life, including job performance.”
An Australian Hearing survey of more than 9000 adults found a fifth of men reported their hearing was ‘poor’.
Tinnitus – or ringing in the ears, an early sign of damaged hearing – was more prevalent in men compared to women.
Dr Edwards urged men to have hearing tests during this Men’s Health Week, June 11-17.
“If Aussie men are experiencing ringing in their ears, are struggling to hear conversations in noisy places, or have difficulty hearing on the phone, I would urge them to see a hearing health specialist, such as an audiologist,” he said.
“Your hearing difficulty could not only affect how you hear sounds but also have an impact on certain cognitive abilities that affect memory and comprehension.”
Sound volume is measured in decibels (dB) and the risk of hearing loss depends on the volume level and length of exposure.
Permanent hearing loss begins at about 85 dB, the typical output of a hairdryer, food processor or kitchen blender.
For more information, call Australian Hearing on 1800 740 301 or visit www.hearing.com.au.
Sound levels checklist
Lawnmower – 85-90dB
Leaf blower – 95-100 dB
Music stereo system – 90-100 dB
Live rock music – 95-105dB
Power tools – 95-105dB
Chainsaw – 100-110dB
Car races – 95-110dB
Football games – 85-95 dB
Top five tips to protect hearing
1. Wear earplugs at loud venues, stay clear of amplifiers and give your ears quiet time afterwards
2. Wear hearing protection when mowing the lawn, using a leaf blower and other noisy equipment
3. Turn the volume down If you need to raise your voice to be heard, the volume is too loud
4. Use noise-cancelling earphones on trains or planes – listen at a safe level
5. Consider mobile apps to measure high-volume sounds in noisy environments.