Males are at higher risk of high-frequency hearing loss caused by noise than females despite equivalent noise exposure and age, a study finds.

Men are at a higher risk of a noise-induced hearing loss than women, according to a Chinese study.

The study included 1,140 noise-exposed males and 1,140 noise-exposed females aged 18–60 years at a shipyard in eastern China from August to October 2018.

Approximately 7.2% of the workers in the study had low-frequency hearing loss (LFHL) and 24% had high-frequency hearing loss (HFHL).

Significantly higher risk

At comparable noise exposure levels and ages, the prevalence rates of low-frequency hearing loss and high-frequency hearing loss in males were significantly higher than those in females. The prevalence of high-frequency hearing loss was 34.4% in males and 13.8% in females after adjusting for age, cumulative noise exposure (CNE) and other covariates. Sex differences were constant and highly remarkable among subjects aged 30 to 40 years and those with a cumulative noise exposure of 80 to 95 dB(A).

In the study, individual noise exposure levels were measured to calculate the cumulative noise exposure (CNE) and an audiometric test was performed by an experienced technician in a soundproof booth. Sex differences in and influencing factors of low-frequency hearing loss and high frequency hearing loss were analysed.

Different responses to noise

Based on their findings, the authors suggest that males and females have different responses to noise exposure damage.

The study, “Sex differences in noise-induced hearing loss: a cross-sectional study in China”, was published in the journal Biology of Sex Differences.

Sources: and the journal Biology of Sex Differences

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