Although generalizations of any sort must be carefully examined, it is important to try to understand factors that contribute to observable gender differences that may have real consequences. Let’s take hearing, for example.
Research suggests that baby girls hear differently than baby boys do. The studies suggest that girls’ hearing is more sensitive than boys’, particularly at a range that is important for speech discrimination. Further, the difference in hearing becomes greater as kids grow older. Teenage girls hear better than teenage boys.
This means that baby girls may be calmed and feel nurtured when a parent hums a lullaby or softly sings “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” A baby boy may not respond in the same way.
Hearing differences between boys and girls also have implications for how you talk to your children. Dad may feel that he is talking in a normal voice only to learn that his daughter thinks he is yelling. The daughter may be experiencing her dad’s voice about ten times louder than Dad hears his own voice. The same sound is heard in two different ways.
The gender difference of hearing may also imply that different classroom strategies are appropriate. Girls may learn better in a classroom that is free of extraneous noise, and teachers need not raise their voices when teaching girls. When we understand the differences in how boys and girls may hear the same sound, it is no longer a wonder that girls—or a female teacher—may be bothered by a boy who taps his pencil on his desk, for example, while the boys don’t even notice.
Hearing is something to think about as you interact with and observe your children. On average, girls and women have more sensitive hearing than boys and men.