There are lots of well recognized causes of hearing loss, but few people recognize the dangers that certain chemicals present to their hearing. Groups that are at risk include automotive workers, plastics, textiles, metal fabrication, and petroleum. You can safeguard your quality of life by knowing what these chemicals are and what precautions to take.
Your hearing could be harmed by certain chemicals
The word “ototoxic” means that something has a toxic effect on either the ears themselves or the nerves in the ears that help with hearing. People can come in contact with chemicals that are “ototoxic” at home or in the workplace. These chemicals can be breathed in, absorbed, or ingested. These chemicals can make their way to the delicate nerves of the ears once they enter 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, recognized five kinds of chemicals that can be harmful to hearing:
- Nitriles – Automotive rubber and seals, super glue and latex glove have nitriles including acrylonitrile and butenenitrile. Because nitriles repel water, they are beneficial, but they can also result in hearing loss.
- Asphyxiants – The amount of oxygen in the air is reduced 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.
- Solvents – Solvents, like carbon disulfide and styrene, are utilized in certain industries such as insulation and plastics. If you work in these fields, consult your workplace safety officer about the degree of exposure you might have, and use all of your safety equipment.
- Pharmaceuticals – Drugs, such as antibiotics, diuretics, and analgesics can damage hearing. You can figure out if any medications you may be using pose any dangers to your hearing by consulting your physician and your hearing specialist.
- Metals and compounds – Metals such as mercury and lead have other adverse effects on the body, but they can also result in hearing loss. People could regularly be exposed to these metals if they’re in the furniture or metal fabrication industries.
If you are exposed to ototoxic chemicals, what should you do?
Taking key precautions is the best way to safeguard 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 use every safety material your job offers, like protective gloves, garments, and masks.
When you are at home, read all safety labels on products and adhere to the instructions to the letter. If you can, keep away from any chemicals, open up windows, use appropriate ventilation, and ask for help with any instructions you can’t understand. Loud noise and chemicals can have a cumulative impact on your hearing so if you find yourself in this kind of scenario, take extra precautions. If you can’t stay away from chemicals or are on medications, make sure you have regular hearing examinations so you can try to nip any problems in the bud. We are experienced in addressing the numerous causes of hearing loss and can help you put together a plan to avoid further damage.