There are numerous commonly known causes of hearing loss, but not too many people realize the dangers that some chemicals present to their hearing. While there are a number of groups of people at risk, those in industries like textiles, petroleum, automotive, plastics, and metal fabrication have increased exposure. Your quality of life can be enhanced by recognizing what these chemicals are and how to protect yourself.
Some Chemicals Are Detrimental to Your Hearing. Why?
Something that has a toxic impact on the nerves of the ears or the ears themselves is known as ototoxic>. At work or at home, people can be exposed to ototoxic chemicals. These chemicals can be absorbed by ingestion, inhalation, or through the skin. These chemicals, once they’re absorbed into the body, will travel into the ear, impacting the sensitive nerves. The resulting hearing loss might be temporary or long-term, and the impact is 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 your hearing:
- Pharmaceuticals – Hearing can be damaged by drugs like antibiotics, diuretics, and analgesics. Consult your regular doctor and your hearing health specialist about any hazards posed by your medications.
- Metals and Compounds – Metals like mercury and lead have other harmful effects on the body, but they can also cause hearing loss. These metals are frequently found in the metal fabrication and furniture industries.
- Solvents – Solvents, including carbon disulfide and styrene, are used in select industries like plastics and insulation. Make sure that if you work in one of these industries, you wear all of your safety equipment and talk to your workplace safety officer about how much you are exposed.
- Asphyxiants – Asphyxiants decrease the amount of oxygen in the air, and include things like carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke. Vehicles, gas tools, stoves, and other appliances could produce harmful levels of these chemicals.
- Nitriles – Things like latex gloves, super glue, and rubber automotive seals contain nitriles like acrylonitrile and 3-Butenenitrile. Though your hearing can be harmed by these nitrile based chemicals, they have the benefit of repelling water.
What Can You do if You’re subjected to Ototoxic Chemicals?
Taking precautions is the trick to safeguarding your hearing. Consult your employer about levels of exposure to these chemicals if you work in the pesticide spraying, construction, plastics, automotive, or fire-fighting fields. If your workplace supplies safety equipment such as protective masks, gloves, or garments, use them.
Make sure you adhere to all of the instructions on the labels of your medications before you take them. When you are using any chemicals, if your not sure about what the label means, get help, and use correct ventilation. Noise and chemicals can have a cumulative impact on your hearing, so if you are around both at the same time, take additional precautions. Try to nip any potential problem in the bud by having a regular hearing test if you are on medications or if you can’t avoid chemicals. The numerous causes of hearing loss are well known to hearing specialists so set up an appointment for a hearing exam in order to avoid further damage.