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Do men and women really hear differently?

Man and woman with hearing difficulty laughing

While both men and women have ears, sometimes one suspects that the other isn’t listening to them. As it turns out, they’re not entirely wrong. Studies show that men and women do, in fact, hear and listen differently.

Processing language

While the anatomy of the ear is the same regardless of sex, research shows that the way men and women process sounds in the brain is different. Brain scans show that men listen with just one hemisphere of their brain, while women use both hemispheres. The reason for this is unknown, and it’s not entirely clear if it’s due to a biological difference or if it’s caused by the different ways boys and girls are taught to socialize from a young age.

Furthermore, brain scans show that men have six times more grey matter than women, while women have 10 times more white matter than men. Having more grey matter may help men with localized tasks. On the other hand, larger amounts of white matter may contribute to women having an easier time with integrating and assimilating, skills thought to help with language development.

What this shows is that there seems to be a difference in the way men and women hear. Hearing performance, however, is a different matter.

Hearing loss

There’s a striking difference in how hearing loss effects men and women. Men are five and a half times more likely than women to lose their hearing. They’re also more likely to develop diseases that can contribute to hearing loss such as diabetes and heart disease. Additionally, men are more likely to work jobs that are known to cause hearing damage.

Registering frequencies

Women don’t always have a leg up when it comes to hearing. In fact, while they generally have better hearing when it comes to frequencies above 2,000 Hz, they’re less able to hear frequencies of 1,000 to 2,000 Hz. This means that while they can hear high-pitched sounds, they struggle to hear lower tones more than men do.

Scheduling a hearing test in Calgary

Whether you’re a man or a woman, your hearing is important. If you or a loved one is worried that you can’t hear what’s being said to you, the team at any Soundwave Hearing Care location can administer a hearing test and, if necessary, recommend a solution. Contact us today to schedule an appointment in Calgary, High River, Lethbridge or Grande Prairie.

All the blogs are reviewed and edited by our clinic's lead audiologist, Dr. Anne Wooliams. Dr. Woolliams is an experienced audiologist specialized in pediatric audiology, auditory processing, and tinnitus/sound sensitivity therapy. She is dedicated to providing top-notch hearing care and helping her clients improve their language and communication abilities. Dr. Woolliams' expertise in literature and linguistics, combined with her passion for helping people improve their language and communication, make her an incredibly valuable asset in the field of audiology. Learn more about Dr. Woolliams.