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Understanding the Gender Gap and Differences of Age-Associated Hearing Loss

Written by

Jeanne Graulich
Jeanne Graulich
Jeanne Graulich, MA, CCC-A is an audiologist on staff to guide your hearing aid journey in a safe and practical way. Jeanne brings over 30 years of experience fitting hearing aids, specializing in fittings with adults. Her passion for improving communication and overall quality of life shines through in every interaction.

An ear is an ear is an ear.  Not so comparing male and female ears.  Structural differences of the inner ear, different physiology, and/or hormonal effects have been documented between men and women revealing variations in clinical hearing and balance test results (Corazzi et al. 2020).  Some studies revealed a difference in age-related hearing loss between men and women with men demonstrating poorer hearing in the higher pitches and women in the lower pitches.  It was hypothesized that men are exposed to dangerous levels of noise in the workplace leading to high-frequency hearing loss and women experience unique structural changes leading to lower frequency hearing loss (Ciorbi et al.,2011).

Results of a large and long-term study of changes in pure-tone hearing levels in men and women, reported in 1994, showed that hearing declined more than twice as fast in men as in women at most ages and frequencies.  The decline in hearing occurred sooner in men across the frequency range.  Women had better hearing than men at frequencies above 1000 Hz but men had better hearing than women at lower frequencies. This study had controls set in for exposure to noise(Pearson et al., 1994).

Otosclerosis, a middle ear bone disease, is thought to be a hereditary condition that seems to be more prevalent in middle-aged white women.

Men and women experience different changes in hearing throughout their lifespan.  Regardless of strengths and weaknesses, male or female, hearing aid use is warranted when hearing loss is present.