Male Hearing Damage Risk By Natural Selection.

Previous studies of industrial deafness have found key gender differences, which can be a factor influencing susceptibility to hearing damage risk within a noisy workplace.
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Industrial Deafness
Hearing Damage
Hearing Loss
Noise Induced Hearing Loss


Manchester - Manchester, Greater - England

Jan. 13, 2012 - PRLog -- Previous studies of industrial deafness have found key gender differences,  which can be a factor influencing susceptibility to hearing damage risk within a noisy workplace. New research has revealed that differences can also operate in other types of environments, where the ability to separate relevant sounds from background noise, such as at a social gathering, seems favoured towards the male.

There has always been  significant differences between the types of male and female workers who report hearing loss. Previously, it was found that, not surprisingly, that men exposed to heavy industrial machinery or transport were most likely to suffer industrial deafness, followed by construction workers and delivery/removal and storage workers.  The highest levels of difficulty associated with hearing loss among women were reported by caterers and cleaners.

While studies seem to indicate that males are more vulnerable to noise induced hearing loss, simply because they would work in generally more noisy environments than females, latest neurological research has found that the audio-spatial abilities of men are more highly developed than those of women.

In the first experiment with study participants, both women and men completed the task of listening to sounds presented one at a time, and were able to identify the location of the sound source with great accuracy. However, in the second test, when a number of sounds were presented at the same time, it was the women who found it more difficult to concentrate on picking out one sound only. In some instances it was thought that the sounds were coming from the opposite direction.

The researchers believe that the greater ability for men to identify sounds from background noise may be due to the different evolutionary requirements of the sexes. The development of spatial abilities could have occurred because of natural and sexual selection from an earlier period of human evolution.  For the men who would hunt for food, listening carefully for prey and identifying their individual sound before being seen became crucial to the success of the hunt.

There is also the possibility that improved spatial ability may have contributed to the reason why men have tended to not notice high level of background noise on the industrial factory floor and be able to focus on prioritised sounds, such as work colleagues speaking. Often men have refused  to wear obligatory hearing defenders or plugs on the grounds that they would be unable to detect problems with machinery they work with by listening for a fault.

It has been estimated that around 153,000 men and 26,000 women in the UK, aged between 35 and 64 suffer from severe hearing difficulty caused by their occupation in a noisy working environment.

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Source:Hearing Loss Advice (Daren Bach)
Tags:Industrial Deafness, Hearing Damage, Hearing Loss, Noise Induced Hearing Loss
Industry:Medical, Health, Government
Location:Manchester - Manchester, Greater - England
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