Hobbies such as going to the footy, car races, and doing DIY jobs around the home may be sending Aussie men deaf - but they’re not listening to the warning signs.
Hearing research agency, Australian Hearing have identified that the use of lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws and music stereo systems, as well as watching car races and football games are leading causes of hearing loss – with men twice as likely to suffer compared to women.
Audiologist Aaron Dillon said men in regional areas were especially susceptible.
“Men tend to be exposed to more noise across their lifetimes through their occupations, which are more likely to involve power tools,” he said.
“Orange is similar to other regional areas in that men are more likely to be using open tractors or rifles than men in the city.”
Mr Dillon said he sees two types of male clients at the Lord’s Place practice, the type who don’t let hearing loss affect their lives and the type who suffer socially due to deteriorating hearing.
“It can contribute to social isolation if men can’t communicate with friends and family,” he said.
“We also find high pitch sounds are often the first to go, the tick tock of a car indicator is often hard to hear which may affect confidence with driving.”
The majority of Mr Dillon’s clients are in their sixties or above, however, he said hearing loss can occur in men in their twenties and thirties.
“One of the first signs is difficulty taking in conversation in situations where there is background noise,” he said.
Australian Hearing offered these top five tips to help protect ears:
- Wear earplugs at loud venues such as concerts or clubs, make sure you stand well away from amplifiers and speakers and always give your ears some quiet time afterwards.
- Wear hearing protection when mowing the lawn, using the leaf blower, doing DIY or using other noisy equipment.
- Turn the volume down – if you need to raise your voice to be heard, the volume is too loud.
- Use noise-cancelling earphones when travelling on trains or planes so that you can listen to music and podcasts at a safer level.
- Consider mobile apps that can measure high-volume sounds to check if you’re in an environment which could be damaging your hearing.