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July 6, 2024 29 mins

Are there gender differences in hearing and hearing loss? What about in how we listen and who we listen to? Yes and yes. Give this classic episode a listen to learn more.

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Hey, this is Anny and Samantha a welcome to stuff
I never told you production of iHeart Radio and today,
since it's Disability Pride Month, I wanted to bring this
one back that I did. It was a very we

have like me episode within Samantha episodes and then some
are like joint episodes, and I if you're a listener,
I'm almost one hundred percent positive you can tell which
is which.

Speaker 2 (00:35):
But this one was.

Speaker 1 (00:37):
About my issues with hearing and it has gotten a
lot worse since I've done this, and I've been researching
into it and into things I could do to improve
the situation because it is like my job is an
audio so it's sort of important and I'm hoping that

sometimes it comes and it passes, you know what I mean.
So hopefully this is not permanent. But that being said,
there's also an update. I haven't been able to confirm
yet if this is true for our show, but currently
there are a lot of transcripts coming out for a

lot of the podcast on our network, So please listeners
let us know because that is something that is very
important to us. It has long been something very important
to me and we've been pushing for it four years
for like almost a decade, I would say, so that
is exciting. I haven't been able to. I saw some

examples of it and it looked like it was pretty good,
like the quality of it. But if there are any concerns,
also let us know about that. But in the meantime,
please enjoy this classic episode.

Speaker 2 (02:00):
Hey, this is Anny.

Speaker 1 (02:01):
Oh it is Samantha, and welcome to Steph. I've never
told you a protection of iHeartRadio. Today we're tackling a
topic that is a personal one for me, as you know, Samantha,

because we've discussed it a lot. Due to an injury
when I was in middle school, I lost a decent
amount of hearing capability in my right ear, and it
has impacted so much of my life. The way I walk,
where I sit, the processing time it takes for me
to understand.

Speaker 2 (02:43):
I feel like I'm having to do a lot of
mental work.

Speaker 1 (02:46):
The panic when talking on the phone if I can't
see your face. Oh, the way that I sleep because
I sleep on my right ear so I can hear
if something is happening with my left ear. And I
recognize that I'm very, very privileged to have the hearing
that I do, but I would be lying if I
said that it wasn't a source of a lot of
anxiety for me, especially because we.

Speaker 2 (03:07):
Are in an audio medium.

Speaker 1 (03:09):
Our job is all about hearing and listening, and of course,
now that we're coming to you from our I call
my studio studio quarantine my closet studio.

Speaker 2 (03:22):
That means a lot.

Speaker 1 (03:22):
More phone interviews and or skype interviews.

Speaker 2 (03:28):
So it's been on my mind.

Speaker 1 (03:31):
And I did get this injury in a pretty traumatic way,
so it's just this reminder every day, and sometimes it
is very triggering, and I have I've only just started
opening up about it because people at work started noticing
habits that I had that I would always sit on
one side of the table, I would sit on one

side of the boom. And then I had to confess
that I phone interviews made me really, really anxious on
this show because people would sort of be like, Hi,
I feel like you never talking that much during those
episodes listeners right in and I would say, yeah, I'm
probably trying very very hard to catch up with what

they just said and to process that information and then
have a comment. And by the time I've done that,
the conversations moved on or something.

Speaker 3 (04:26):
Yeah, I remember when you first told me, I just
assumed it was the professionalism of like waiting and pausing
just in case they wanted to add things. So to me,
I was like, oh, oh, okay, yeah, that makes sense.
And as a person that doesn't struggle with that, I
can absolutely understand. I'm like, oh, that makes a lot
more sense to your reaction time, to your habits in general.

I'm like, yeah, I actually had my earlier school. I
don't know what it's called schools of days that wasn't college.

Speaker 2 (04:54):
What are those primary education?

Speaker 3 (04:57):
Sure, okay, I know words during that time, like my
best friend's little sister had also had damage on one
side of her ear through illness, and so she was
deaf in one ear, and I remember having to understand, oh,
that's why she's not paying attention when I'm trying to
talk to her on the side of her. It's not
just because she's not listening to me, which I'm sure

has been an issue with yours your stuff as well.
When you're like no, I'm not being awkward, No I'm
not ignoring you. I just literally did not hear you
because you're on the wrong side of my body.

Speaker 2 (05:31):
Yeah, And sometimes I.

Speaker 1 (05:34):
Catch myself doing what I feel like is I think
I feel like dogs do this where they sort of
cock their head. So sometimes if the room's been silent
for a while, I just kind of turn my head
and cock it to make sure there isn't a sound
that I'm not picking up on that I should be
picking up on. And I even had somebody tell me
that it's for a movie I was in. He said

I almost didn't get the job because of how awkward
I was on the phone, and he felt he felt
terrible when I told him my struggles with the phone
that's what Yeah, yeah, yeah, but I mean that was
in a way both very upsetting and very comforting, right
to know, it's not just in my head, right, there
is a level of awkwardness happening here.

Speaker 2 (06:19):

Speaker 3 (06:20):
To be fair, I am really awkward on the phone
as well. I will rush you off a conversation real
quick because I hate being on the phone anyway, and
I just don't like just pausing and just be like
we are you are you saying that me?

Speaker 2 (06:33):

Speaker 3 (06:33):

Speaker 2 (06:34):
You like that whole level.

Speaker 3 (06:35):
Yeah, So that could be.

Speaker 2 (06:40):
So for sure, I don't.

Speaker 1 (06:42):
I only have like three friends and a few family
members that like talking on the phone. It's just it.

Speaker 2 (06:49):
Doesn't seem like it's a really popular thing, and no
one likes it. After you could figure out you.

Speaker 3 (06:53):
Don't actually have to be on the phone anymore to communicate,
So I'm like, ooh, let's do this other way instead.
I'm not gonna lie though, whole like face to face
thing is also shocking new level of shocking.

Speaker 1 (07:04):
Yes, yes, I much prefer that, uh but yeah, yeah,
for sure. So in this episode, we're going to look
at some specific aspects of hearing when it comes to
women and listening when it comes to women, and other
intersections of that. But honestly, this is a huge.

Speaker 2 (07:25):
There are so many lanes we could have gone down.

Speaker 3 (07:27):
Well, yeah, just by the definition of hearing and listening,
you could go into the figurative, you could go into
the water role, and it is a whole several topic.

Speaker 1 (07:36):
Worth absolutely and we definitely have touched on some of
those topics in previous episodes and we'll be sure to
shout those out as we go along.

Speaker 2 (07:46):
But okay, let's let's get into the meat. The meat.

Speaker 3 (07:51):
Yeah, So when it comes to listening, as with a
lot of things, we talk about a whole lot of
factors play a role, culture, gender, race, socialization, relationships topics,
and many more.

Speaker 1 (08:03):
Yes, And for Samantha and I in particular, we've definitely
had a handful of episodes where we've talked about how
we judge women's voices more harshly when it comes to
things like up talk and vocal fry, the credibility gap.
So those are out there as well, and it does

play a role in what we're talking about, but we're
not going to hone in specifically on those things too
much today.

Speaker 3 (08:29):
So hearing, in terms of science of hearing or of
physical hearing, there's a lot out there. Most of the
studies seem to suggest that women generally have more hearing
sensitivity and greater susceptibility to high frequency noise exposure, among
other things, while men have greater sound localization, again, among
other things.

Speaker 1 (08:48):
Yeah, I had to look up so many terms when
reading these research papers to understand what was going on.
So let's talk about hearing loss for a second. Over
fifty million Americans experience hearing loss. The National Institute on
Deafness and Other Communication Disorders found that men are twice
as likely to experience hearing loss and much less likely

to seek help for it. Men tend to lose higher
frequencies first, while women lose lower frequencies first. According to
the Hearing Aid Project, that means women's ability to hear
vowels is more impacted while men's ability to hear consonants
is more impacted, which can foster a lot of miscommunication.

Speaker 3 (09:29):
Women with hearing laws are more likely to use verbal
and maladaptive strategies, things like interrupting people, informing people about
what they're hearing.

Speaker 2 (09:36):
Loss all that, right.

Speaker 1 (09:39):
And from what I could ascertain from the study, men
are more likely to just sort of shrug it off, right, Yeah,
But let's talk about listening to women.

Speaker 3 (09:54):
So we have a long storied history of fictional women
warning of danger to come. We know this example, maybe
Casadra warning the grease of the Trojan Horse comes to mind,
and not being listened to.

Speaker 1 (10:07):
We have so many examples of this in our media
that my co host over at Saber, Lauren and I
did a whole episode on this show when it comes
to the context of horror movies, called why Didn't you
Believe Her? And then we tied it into the whole
Brett Kavanaugh thing. So, if you are looking for more examples,
so many, so many examples right. A nineteen seventy nine

study so a little dated, found that when presenting IFO
on a traditionally masculine topic, a traditionally feminine topic, and
a neutral topic, people listened more carefully to the male speakers,
even when the presentation was the same. In all of
the presentations, even the traditionally feminine topic, there wasn't a
difference in who was more informative the male or female

presenters are the participants rating of who is more informative.
When it came to effectiveness, steady participants genuinely raise the
male presenter with the same level of effectiveness. But the
male respondents gave higher ratings to the female presenters than
the women in the study did, and the theory was
that men the male participants did not expect the female

presenters to be competent, so when they were, they rated
them higher than they did the men.

Speaker 3 (11:22):
This is directly out of the study, it says, as
one basis for this differential evaluation, Urger Cohen and Zeldage
and Lockheed in Hull have suggested that difference in the
evaluation of behavior of males and females are directly related
to the effect of sex as a status characteristics. Since
the male sex is more highly valued and thus is
accorded to higher status, Assessments of male behaviors are also

valued more even when compared to equally effective behavior performed
by a female. A possible consequence of these perceived differences
is that if women are perceived as being less competent,
this might influence their ability to exert influence and impair
their credibility rights.

Speaker 1 (12:01):
A two thousand study used brain scans to determine that
men listen with one side of their brain, while women
listen with both. This doesn't mean that women are better listeners, though,
and the researchers cautioned that they couldn't untangle whether this
was because of hardwiring in the brain or social conditioning.

Speaker 3 (12:19):
So other research on the brain has shown that even
at a young age, boys and girls process language differently,
more sensory for boys and abstract for girls. Scientists are
still looking into whether these differences disappear in adulthood.

Speaker 1 (12:35):
So we got a lot of things going on there.
We got a lot of threads of social conditioning and
culture than we have science showing something in the brain
is going on, and it is difficult to unpack all
of that stuff when it comes to why perhaps we

do listen to women differently, or there are the sex
differences and why and how we listen. And that's only
a handful of the studies. We have some more, but
first we have a quick break for a word from
our sponsor, and we're back, Thank you sponsor. So a

few years ago, Carol Kinsey Goehman researched gender differences and
communications skills and workplace environments across the United States, Canada,
and Europe. Respondents generally gave the same ish answers for
strengths and weaknesses in themselves and each other. So for women,
the strengths generally given were ability to read body language

and pick up nonverbal cues, good listening skills, effective display
of empathy, and the weaknesses given were overly emotional, meandering,
won't to the point, not authoritative right.

Speaker 3 (14:03):
So for men, the strengths were commanding physical presence, direct
and to the point interactions, affective display of power, and
the weaknesses were overly blunt and direct, insensitive to audience reactions,
and too confident in own opinion.

Speaker 1 (14:18):
So those are some pretty big differences. And a lot
of them do fall along stereotypical gender lines gender performative lines.
The study broke down communication styles into warmth, so things
like carrying, liability, empathy, and authority, credibility, status, and power.
According to the findings, women are better at the warmth

part and men at the authority part. And I was
thinking about this, maybe better isn't the right word. It
could be that due to socialization and historical power structures,
that's where women were allowed to excel and that's where
men were allowed to excel. Again, really are to unpack
untangle all of this? Anyway, The study found that women

are better at collaborative environments at dialogue, while men are
better at the monologue. Here's a quote from the study,
which was reported on at Forbes. Women display more warm
body language cues. They are more likely to focus on
those who are speaking by orienting head and torso to

face participants. They lean forward, smiles, synchronize their movements with others,
not until their heads the universal signal of listening literally
giving someone your ear. Men send more status signals through
an array of dominant behaviors such as side to side headshaking, anger,
and disgust. Expressions they stand tall, are they sprawl sitting
with their legs spread or widely crossed, their materials spread

out on a comfort stable, and their arms stretched out
on the back of a chair.

Speaker 3 (15:55):
So this article went on to catalog the general differences
in body language between men and women. For men, nothing
usually means I agree, whereas for women it can mean
either I agree or I'm listening to you, or as
an encouragement to the speaker to keep going. It also
found that men talk more in meetings than women.

Speaker 2 (16:14):

Speaker 1 (16:16):
Yeah, well, and I was thinking about that too, because
I find it interesting that in our mainstream stereotype of women,
it's like they talk more than men. You've got your
chatty Kathy's I can't get them to stop, and oh no,
she's on the phone.

Speaker 2 (16:30):
It's all over. I know.

Speaker 1 (16:31):
My mom was a frequent target of these kinds of comments,
and when I got older and I would talk to
her about that. Oftentimes it's she wanted the conversation to end, right,
but the usually dude in the picture was just overstaying

like I have five examples, I think, and was just
talking away at her. And yet she was the one
who's getting made fun of. And not that we should
be making fun of people who want to talk. But
she was the one that was getting picked on for
being chatty.

Speaker 4 (17:12):
Even though she probably was just like yeah, okay, yes,
encouraging exactly, And research does not bear out that women
are the big talkers at all.

Speaker 1 (17:23):
Some research has found that in most situations, men dominate
seventy five percent of speaking time. Women are more likely
to be interrupted than men, a number which goes up
when more men are present. But research has also found
that even though women are speaking last, people perceive that
they speak more than they do. So I feel like

this is another way to minimize women, to encourage women
to stay quiet, because otherwise you're talking too much and
people are going to laugh at you. Now, again, this
is a very complex thing that we're talking about with
a lot going on. These are generalizations. Always, more researchers need,

more sciences needed. I will say women, and we've talked
about this before, they do typically have more social relationships,
so I can understand perhaps where that stereotype came from
in terms of women just have more people to talk
to generally, maybe, but yeah, and I'm probably most likely

to reach out.

Speaker 3 (18:29):
Yes, yes, so a lot of advice out there in
the business realm to be more sort of lean in,
put the responsibility on women to adapt to masculinize environment,
and that bossy, bitchy fallback is waiting right there in
the wings to come on out.

Speaker 1 (18:46):
Right, So the advice feels like it's telling women to
be more like men. But then when you do that, right,
then you're called these terms.

Speaker 3 (18:56):
Right, you're not doing this enough, but when you do it,
you're doing much exactly.

Speaker 2 (19:01):
And also.

Speaker 1 (19:04):
It is sort of implying that this masculine environment is
the right one and that women should change to fit
into that instead of maybe we should all be listening more. Right, Yes, yes,
and we do have some more tips around that. But

first we have one more quick break for or from
our sponsor, am or back, Thank you sponsor. So. I

was reading an article in the New York Times when
researching this, written by doctor Probolis, and in it she
wrote about what she called feminist listening, which I thought
was an interesting term, and she described men, particularly white women,
not engaging in feminist listening when women, for example, were
warning of Trump's sexist, racist, abusive behavior.

Speaker 3 (20:10):
Right, And of course, everything we've talked about could further
be broken down to the intersectional issues. How do we
listen or not to women of color, to non binary folks,
to the LGBTQ plus individuals, And we do have a
lot of stereotypes that hang ups around voices, which is
something we've talked about and again needs to be probably
a bigger episode in itself to revisit.

Speaker 1 (20:32):
Yes, absolutely, If you google feminist listening, by the way,
most of the top results are either listen to women, Okay,
something about reframing how we construct studies. I actually found
this really fascinating. So they in this particular study I'm
thinking of, they were describing how we need to change

how we listen to participants in studies, examining gaps in
research and why those gaps exist, and then words that
don't exist. We need to think about words that don't
exist around the experiences of women and other marginalized groups.
So a lot of times when we people conduct these studies,

they'll edit. So if you're saying a lot of you know,
ore filler words that maybe those words actually point to
something else and we shouldn't be cutting them, we should
be documenting why they're there, which I thought was really
interesting and Another result I got a lot of when
I typed in feminist listening was analytical listening to music

with a feminist and queer perspective. Should it really really does,
And apparently some colleges have programs that do this.

Speaker 2 (21:51):
I thought that was pretty neat, pretty neat.

Speaker 3 (21:54):

Speaker 1 (21:56):
One thing I really want for us as a podcast
is to one day get our show transcribed. And this
is something that we used to do, but the budget
for it unfortunately got cut. It was so important to
me that for a while, I did it myself until
I didn't have the bandwidth to do it anymore. But

I really really want to bring that back, and I'm
hoping that we can.

Speaker 2 (22:22):

Speaker 3 (22:23):
Right, So, here are some tips for anyone looking to
be a better listener, which I hope we all are
doing so, and a couple of easy steps you can take.

Speaker 1 (22:33):

Speaker 3 (22:34):
Stop talking and stop planning the next thing you're going
to say. Be in that moment, Listen to what is
being said to you, Ask meaningful questions, Ask questions pertaining
to what you just heard. Maintain eye contact. Of course
that could be a cultural thing, by the way, so
if you don't feel comfortable with that, that's okay, but
it can't help you. At least see their face, look

at their face when they're talking to you.

Speaker 2 (22:58):
It will help. Yeah.

Speaker 1 (23:00):
Yeah, being present and giving feedback is a really good one.
Being open minded, like, don't immediately judge what someone is
saying to you, wait till they finish their thought and
then consider it, think about it, ask all up questions,
don't interrupt, practice empathy, and if you notice someone hasn't spoken,
check in, give them a platform. And I know in

terms of listening and in business contexts, another one I
saw a lot and I know we've probably all heard
this is make sure credit is going to where it
should go, to say that person's name.

Speaker 2 (23:35):
That's a great idea. Somantha has this great idea.

Speaker 3 (23:38):
Right Yeah, I think that's really important right now because
there's been a big kerfuffle, I guess inside of twitter verse.
I've been stuck at twitter verse for a minute about
people not giving credit to people of color, women of color,
specifically black women specifically, and we need to remember that
as a rasure and it is very very dangerous, especially

today in this time point in which we see there's
a lot of history trying to be rewritten, and we
need to acknowledge where it comes from and why they
should be credited.

Speaker 1 (24:08):
Absolutely absolutely, And then for anybody in your life that
maybe has any kind of difficulty hearing or hearing loss,
just you know, check in and say what where can
I help you? Where can I minimize for me? And
again my my hearing, I'm very privileged. It's still I

got pretty good in one ear. It really is just
like be on that side, right, Yeah, that's all. So
for sure, would love to return to this, would love
to delve into some of these specific issues more in
the future, but for now sort of an overview some

big ideas, but definitely would like to revisit. And I
actually wanted to read a listener mail we got before
we end this one from Donnaka. Donnaka wrote, I have
a great fanfic suggestion for you, particularly Annie. Yes, hello,
I love fan fiction and those menty listeners. It's an

alternative universe retelling of Harry Potter, written book by book,
considering what the series would have been if James and
Lily had survived the night of Voldemort's attack. This is
a project my best friend Chase has been working on
for years. Is super well written in and particularly love
it because Chase is writing in such a way that
acknowledges rolling shortcomings in the works and improves upon them.

She actually deals with and addresses the inherent racism in
the Wizarding World against Centaur's house, helves, goblins, etc. And
when characters are queer, she actually writes in the text
that they are queer. It's such a wonderful thing that
my bestie has poured her heart and soul into. If
you two, or anyone is looking to reread Harry Potter
during these isolated times, maybe consider Chase's version instead of

supporting transphobic rolling. Plus, you don't need to worry about
owning the books, as Chase's works are all accessible for
free online at archive of her own and her user
page Aiden Chase, and on Tumblr and Twitter at HP
Everyone Lives. Just googling HP Everyone Lives AU will take

you right to it as well. She's currently about halfway
through publishing The Haplood Prince, so there's a lot of
content to read. I think a lot of the listeners
would enjoy it, and the fit deserves way more notoriety
than it has.

Speaker 3 (26:32):
Okay, first of all, I stand any friend who goes
out there and rallies behind them.

Speaker 2 (26:38):
What I love this. I love everything about this. I
do too, and I'm very excited to check this out.

Speaker 1 (26:46):
I've got to say, like being on book six, that's impressive.

Speaker 3 (26:51):
Right, she must have been on it for a long time.

Speaker 1 (26:54):
So impressive, very very excited. Fan Fiction is probably like
number one thing going. I have read and written so
much fan fiction. I actually joke that I would be
very embarrassed at my Internet history right now. But you
know what, no shame, no shame, and please please, We're

happy to shout things out. Like any entertainment that you
think our audience would enjoy, we would enjoy.

Speaker 2 (27:25):
Send it our way.

Speaker 1 (27:26):
I know we're all looking for more, more things to consume,
and we're so happy to receive those messages and share them.

Speaker 3 (27:36):
And just so you know, we are going to do
another viewing party. I know a few people have asked
because they missed this one. Although the craft was I
feel like it was pretty a bangor start, so we'll
be doing this again. We had a good time. It
was very limited, but it was still fun. So we
will be doing that again because we will be maintaining
at home still, so look for that as well. And again, yeah,

give us all of your recommendations because we have some time, we.

Speaker 1 (28:04):
Do and we could share that with everybody. We could
have like a big sminty Oh we should, We absolutely should,
and for sure send in your recommendations for our next
movie that.

Speaker 2 (28:14):
We should watch and book that we should read.

Speaker 1 (28:17):
In the meantime. This brings us to the end of
this episode. If you would like to email us, we
would love to hear from you. Our email is Stuffmedia
mom Stuff at iHeartMedia dot com. You can also find
us on Twitter at mom Stuff podcast or on Instagram
at Stuff I've Never Told You. Thanks as always to
our super producer Andrew Howard, and thanks to you for listening.

Stuff I Never Told You is a production of iHeartRadio.
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