Hearing loss is one of the most common forms of sensory impairments in humans. Hearing loss has been on a steady rise, mostly as a result of noise-induced hearing loss. Hearing loss is also the second most common health issue affecting military veterans, and although both environmental and genetic factors play a role, hearing loss is more common and more severe in men than women.
What You Should Know
Over the years, scientists have focused on the fact that women often do not develop age-related hearing loss until they are post-menopausal (usually in their 50’s) – when their levels of the hormone estrogen decline. In fact, evidence has shown that estrogen is not just the female sex hormone, but has other roles, including protecting against ageing and, possibly, hearing loss.
How Does Estrogen Affect Your Hearing?
Estrogen affects human biology by binding to special molecules on the surfaces of cells, known as classical estrogen receptors. This allows it to control activity in the cells to keep them functioning correctly. In the inner ear, a lack of these receptors makes noise more damaging to the cochlea and can lead to profound deafness. So one can conclude that when estrogen levels decline in women, it increases their risks of hearing loss.
But despite ample evidence of estrogen’s role in hearing, scientists are still not entirely sure how it works. Further research on estrogen and hearing will help scientists develop treatments for age-related and noise-induced hearing loss. A better understanding of estrogen’s role in hearing and differences between the sexes is also important because a large sex bias still exists in many aspects of hearing studies and research. This simply means that studies that involve only men or that do not account for sex at all could possibly lead to the development of treatments that will be less effective for women.
Consult with the Hearing Care Professionals at Kenwood Hearing Center
If still have questions or would like to speak with one of our hearing care professionals, contact us today and schedule an appointment at one of our convenient Ohio hearing center locations: Bowling Green, Toledo, or Wauseon.