Journal of Womens Health, Issues and CareISSN: 2325-9795

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Gender Factors that Affect Health and Hearing Acuity in Personal Listening Device Users and Non-Users

Gender Factors that Affect Health and Hearing Acuity in Personal Listening Device Users and Non-Users

Background: Research has revealed that differences in hearing levels exist among males and females due to physiological differences between genders. However, few studies have explored gender differences involving the link between hearing levels and frequency of exposure to noise, hearing protection, duration and intensity level of personal listening device (PLD) use, and fitness factors across the lifespan. Methods: Data were analyzed from 115 males and females (ages 18 to 84) recruited from Oxford, Ohio. Participants were separated into two groups: PLD-users and PLD non-users, depending on their usage. Both groups completed audiometric and health-related fitness testing. Results: Males were more likely to listen to music at potentially harmful levels (85 dBA) in silence (p= 0.002). Although the majority of participants listened at “safe” levels, males were more likely to listen at louder and potentially dangerous levels in silence than females. Waist-to-hip ratio was positively correlated with hearing levels in both genders. Only 23% of participants reported using hearing protection: half female, half male. Participants who used PLDs for a greater number of years had better traditional frequency hearing thresholds than non-PLD users. Conclusion: A majority of those who have been using PLDs for a greater number of years are younger adults whose hearing acuity has not yet been greatly affected by degenerative effects of aging. Medical advancements and improved fitness levels may protect the younger generations’ hearing acuity as they age. Gender differences related to hearing loss can provide valuable information about risk factors for developing hearing loss throughout aging.

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