There are lots of well known causes of hearing loss, but not many people realize the dangers that certain chemicals pose to their hearing. At risk groups include automotive workers, plastics, textiles, metal fabrication, and petroleum. You can protect your quality of life by being aware of what these chemicals are and what precautions to take.
Some chemicals could be hazardous to your hearing
The ears themselves or the nerves of the ears can be toxically affected by anything that has an “ototoxic” effect. Specific chemicals are ototoxic, and people can be exposed to these chemicals at home and in the workplace. These chemicals can be inhaled, absorbed, or ingested. These chemicals can travel to the delicate nerves of the ears once they enter the body. The resulting hearing loss could 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, defined five kinds of chemicals that can be harmful to hearing:
- Pharmaceuticals – Drugs, including antibiotics, diuretics, and analgesics can damage hearing. You can determine if any medications you might be taking pose any hazards to your hearing by talking with your physician and your hearing specialist.
- 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.
- Metals and compounds – Metals like mercury and lead have other harmful effects on the body, but they can also cause hearing loss. Individuals could regularly be exposed to these metals if they’re in the furniture or metal fabrication industries.
- Asphyxiants – Asphyxiants decrease the quantity of oxygen in the air and consist of things like carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke. Harmful levels of these chemicals are often produced by things like stoves, gas engines, and other appliances.
- Solvents – Specific industries including 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 level of exposure you may have, and wear all of your safety equipment.
What should you do if you’re exposed to ototoxic chemicals?
The best way to protect your hearing from chemical exposure is to take key precautions. If you work in an industry like automotive, firefighting, plastics, pesticide spraying, or construction, ask your employer about exposure levels to these chemicals. Make sure you utilize every safety material your job offers, like protective gloves, garments, and masks.
Read and adhere to 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 can’t comprehend. Take extra precautions if you’re around noise at the same time as chemicals, as the two can have a cumulative effect on your hearing. Try to stay a step ahead of hearing loss by getting regular screenings if you are using any ototoxic medications or you can’t stay away from chemicals. We are experienced in dealing with the numerous causes of hearing loss and can help you formulate a plan to prevent further damage.