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Hearing Health a Top Priority for Men

This past June was an important month for men around the country. Father's Day came and went, as well as an annual event that brings awareness to men's health - Men's Health week (June 15-21, 2009).

Men's Health Week is observed annually and exists to increase the awareness of preventable health issues and encourage early detection and treatment of diseases among men and boys. So if you observed this men's-only week this year, great job. If not, then it is never too late to take note of your health.

Men and Healthy Hearing

One important health issue often ignored by men is hearing health. According to the National Institute on Deafness and other Communication Disorders (NIDCD), approximately 36 million Americans have hearing loss and men are more likely to experience hearing loss then women. And unfortunately these 36 million Americans are dealing with much more than diminished hearing.

A study released by the National Council on Aging (NCOA) in 1999 found that untreated hearing loss was associated with other quality of life issues. Issues - such as sadness, depression, anxiety, insecurity, and irritability - that have a negative impact on our overall well-being. Not surprisingly, the study also indicated that hearing loss affects both the individuals with the loss, as well as their families.

Protect Yourself

Age-related hearing loss is inevitable for most. Genetics, lifestyle and overall health contribute to the likelihood you will experience hearing loss with age. And unfortunately this type of hearing loss is not preventable. However one type of hearing loss that is preventable is noise-induced hearing loss.

Throughout a lifetime you are bombarded with noise - some loud, some just plain annoying. Exposure to excessive noise is cumulative throughout a lifetime, meaning it adds up and begins to show later in age.

The one way to prevent damage from excessive noise exposure is to protect the only two ears we are given - wear ear protection. There are lots of options to choose from and the key is to keep ear protection handy so it gets used. Follow these steps to ensure hearing protection is there in the event it is needed:

  • Keep your hearing protection devices near your power tools - if you see them by your tools you will be reminded to put them on
  • Stash a baggie of foam earplugs in your car - they will always be there and will be easy to grab before concerts or other noisy activities.
  • Keep a pair hanging on the lawnmower - they will serve as a reminder each time you go to mow.

And don't forget listening to loud music can be just as damaging as a chain saw. Consider purchasing noise-canceling headphones when listening to a personal music device as these prevent you from turning your music up too loud due to surrounding background noise. For concert goers consider purchasing custom hearing protection molds - they allow you to listen to music at safe listening levels while maintaining excellent sound quality.

To learn more about healthy hearing in men and ways to protect your hearing, visit: Men's Health Week: Preventing Hearing Loss a Top Priority.

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