It is all too common to hear someone comment on another person’s ‘selective hearing’, and sometimes men get reputations as bad listeners because of the often used response “I didn’t hear you say that,” or “You never said that.” What if there is now a legitimate reason to believe that maybe he really didn’t hear that?
It is important to understand all areas of health and how they impact our daily lives, because our families and friends are the support next to us as we overcome health obstacles and celebrate victories. One of these health factors is hearing loss, and if it goes unnoticed and unresolved, there can be extreme consequences.
There are currently more than 36 million Americans who deal with some level of hearing loss, many of whom have dealt with occupations that expose them to excessive noise. Men are more likely to be impacted by hearing loss because of various occupational and recreational factors, such as working in a factory, shooting firearms, riding motorcycles and using power tools. When these occupational/recreational activities are regularly performed without the use of hearing protection, it increases the risk of irreversible hearing loss. In fact, the only preventable type of hearing loss is called noise-induced hearing loss, and studies show that the number of adults who use hearing protection during recreational activities is low.
Hearing loss can be extremely difficult for the person and their family. Bits of conversations are missed, questions go unanswered, jokes unheard, and ultimately, hearing loss can contribute to overall poor communication within the family unit. If this type of miscommunication continues, it can have some negative emotional consequences for those involved, including depression, anxiety and irritability.
There are some simple steps that can be taken to reduce the risks associated with hearing loss, helping ensure the men we love can have a positive quality of life.
- Prevention: Avoid excessive noise when possible. This includes keeping the radio and television at low to normal volumes and limiting exposure to loud noises at concerts, races and other recreational events.
- Protection: At all appropriate times, use earplugs. A great tip for remembering to protect your hearing is to place/store earplugs (or noise reducing headphones) next to tool boxes, the lawn mower, and in the car so they can easily be used in situations with excessive levels of noise.
- Being Proactive: At your regular physicals and screenings, be sure you have your hearing tested. Lead a healthy lifestyle overall, including proper nutrition, exercise, and limiting or quitting harmful habits, such as smoking and drinking.
The men in our lives are our fathers, sons, brothers, uncles, heroes, comics, mechanics, confidants and so much more. So let’s remind the men we love to make their health a priority, and be sure they hear how important they are to us!
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