Most people are aware of the common causes of hearing loss, but certain chemicals can also cause hearing loss which can be surprising. Groups that are at risk include automotive workers, plastics, textiles, metal fabrication, and petroleum. You can safeguard your quality of life by being aware of what these chemicals are and what precautions to take.
Your hearing could be damaged by certain chemicals
The word “ototoxic” means that something has a toxic effect on either the ears themselves or the nerves inside of the ears that help us hear. Specific chemicals are ototoxic, and individuals can be exposed to these chemicals at home and in the workplace. These chemicals can be inhaled, absorbed, or ingested. These chemicals can make their way to the delicate nerves of the ears once they get into the body. Noise exposure will increase the negative effects, whether permanent or temporary, of ototoxic hearing loss.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, defined five kinds of chemicals that can be harmful to hearing:
- Solvents – Specific industries such as plastics and insulation utilize solvents such as styrene and carbon disulfide in manufacturing. If you work in these industries, consult your workplace safety officer about the degree of exposure you may have, and use all of your safety equipment.
- Asphyxiants – The level of oxygen in the air is decreased by asphyxiants, that includes things like carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke. Harmful amounts of these chemicals are often produced by things like stoves, gas engines, and other appliances.
- Pharmaceuticals – Drugs, such as antibiotics, diuretics, and analgesics can harm your hearing. Speak with your physician and your hearing health specialist about any hazards posed by your medications.
- Metals and compounds – Metals like mercury and lead have other adverse effects on the body, but they can also trigger hearing loss. People could frequently be exposed to these metals if they’re in the furniture or metal fabrication industries.
- Nitriles – Automotive rubber and seals, super glue and latex glove contain nitriles including acrylonitrile and butenenitrile. Nitrile-based products can be useful because they help repel water, but exposure can harm your hearing.
If you are exposed to ototoxic chemicals, what can you do?
Taking key precautions is the best way to protect your hearing from exposure to chemicals. If you work in an industry like automotive, firefighting, plastics, pesticide spraying, or construction, ask your employer about exposure levels to these chemicals. You need to utilize every safety material your job offers, like protective gloves, garments, and masks.
Read and adhere to all of the safety instructions listed on product labels. If you can, keep away from any chemicals, open up windows, use proper ventilation, and request help with any instructions you don’t comprehend. Take extra precautions if you are around noise at the same time as chemicals, as the two can have a cumulative impact on your hearing. Try to keep a step ahead of hearing loss by having regular screenings if you are using any ototoxic medications or you can’t avoid chemicals. We are experienced in addressing the numerous causes of hearing loss and can help you come up with a plan to prevent further damage.