There are lots of well recognized causes of hearing loss, but few people recognize the dangers that some chemicals present to their hearing. At risk groups include automotive workers, plastics, textiles, metal fabrication, and petroleum. Being aware of what these harmful chemicals are and what precautions you should take can help protect your quality of life.
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. People can be exposed to chemicals that are “ototoxic” in the workplace or at home. These chemicals can be breathed in, absorbed, or ingested. These chemicals can make their way to the delicate nerves of the ears once they get into the body. The resulting hearing loss might be temporary or permanent, and the impact is even worse when noise exposure is also at high levels.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, recognized five types of chemicals that can be harmful to hearing:
- Pharmaceuticals – Your hearing can be harmed by medications that contain antibiotics, analgesics, and diuretics. You can learn if any medications you may be using present any dangers to your hearing by talking to your physician and your hearing specialist.
- Metals and compounds – Metals including lead and mercury can cause hearing loss in addition to the harm they can do to other parts of the body. Individuals may frequently be exposed to these metals if they’re in the furniture or metal fabrication industries.
- Nitriles – Nitriles like 3-Butenenitrile and acrylonitrile are used in producing products including automotive rubber and seals, super glue, and latex gloves. Nitrile-based products can be beneficial because they help repel water, but exposure can damage your hearing.
- Asphyxiants – Asphyxiants decrease the quantity of oxygen in the air and include 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, such as carbon disulfide and styrene, are used in certain industries such as insulation and plastics. Wear all of your safety equipment and consult your workplace safety officer if you work in these industries.
If you are exposed to ototoxic chemicals, what can you do?
The best way to safeguard your hearing from chemical exposure is to take key precautions. Consult your employer about your level of exposure to these chemicals if you work in the automotive, pesticide spraying, plastics, firefighting, or construction industries. Make sure you utilize every safety material your job offers, such as protective gloves, garments, and masks.
Read and follow all of the safety guidelines 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. Loud noise and chemicals can have a cumulative effect on your hearing so if you find yourself in this type of situation, take extra precautions. Try to stay a step ahead of hearing loss by getting regular screenings if you are taking any ototoxic medications or you can’t stay away from chemicals. We are experienced in dealing with the various causes of hearing loss and can help you come up with a plan to avoid further damage.