Most people know about the common causes of hearing loss, but certain chemicals can also lead to hearing loss which can be surprising. Groups that are at risk include automotive workers, plastics, textiles, metal fabrication, and petroleum. Being aware of what these hazardous chemicals are and what safeguards you should take can help protect your quality of life.
Some chemicals could be hazardous to your hearing
The ears themselves or the nerves of the ears can be toxically impacted by anything that has an “ototoxic” effect. Certain chemicals are ototoxic, and people can be exposed to these chemicals at home and in the workplace. They may absorb these chemicals through the skin, inhale, or ingest them. Once these chemicals are in the body, they can make their way to the delicate nerves and other parts of the ear. The resulting hearing loss may be temporary or permanent, and the effect is even worse when noise exposure is also at high levels.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, identified five kinds of chemicals that can be hazardous to hearing:
- Solvents – Certain industries such as plastics and insulation use solvents such as styrene and carbon disulfide in manufacturing. If you work in these industries, talk to your workplace safety officer about the degree of exposure you might have, and use all of your safety equipment.
- Metals and compounds – Metals including lead and mercury can cause hearing loss on top of the damage they can do to other parts of the body. People could frequently be exposed to these metals if they’re in the furniture or metal fabrication industries.
- Nitriles – Nitriles such as 3-Butenenitrile and acrylonitrile are utilized in making products such as automotive rubber and seals, super glue, and latex gloves. Because nitriles repel water, they are beneficial, but they can also result in hearing loss.
- Pharmaceuticals – Your hearing can be harmed by medications that have antibiotics, analgesics, and diuretics. Consult your physician and your hearing health specialist about any hazards posed by your medications.
- Asphyxiants – The amount of oxygen in the air is decreased by asphyxiants, that includes things like carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke. Harmful amounts of these chemicals are frequently put out by things like stoves, gas engines, and other appliances.
If you are exposed to ototoxic chemicals, what should you do?
Taking key precautions is the ideal way to safeguard your hearing from exposure to chemicals. If you work in an industry like automotive, firefighting, plastics, pesticide spraying, or construction, consult your employer about exposure levels to these chemicals. You need to utilize all safety equipment your job offers, like protective gloves, garments, and masks.
When you are at home, read all safety materials 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 don’t comprehend. Take extra precautions if you are around noise at the same time as chemicals, as the two can have a cumulative effect on your hearing. If you can’t stay away from chemicals or are on medications, be certain you have regular hearing assessments so you can attempt to nip any problems in the bud. We are experienced in dealing with the various causes of hearing loss and can help you put together a plan to prevent further damage.