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Most people are familiar with the common causes of hearing loss but don’t recognize the dangers that commonplace chemicals pose to their hearing. There is an greater exposure risk for people who work in metal fabrication, automotive-plastics, petroleum, and textiles. Your quality of life can be improved by realizing what these chemicals are and how to be protected.

Certain Chemicals Are Detrimental to Your Hearing. Why?

Something that has a toxic effect on the nerves of the ears or the ears themselves is known as ototoxic. Particular chemicals are ototoxic, and individuals can be exposed to these chemicals at work or at home. These chemicals can be absorbed by inhalation, through the skin, or by ingestion. Once these chemicals get into the body, they can impact the delicate nerves and other portions of the ear. The resultant hearing loss could be temporary or permanent, and the effect is worse when noise exposure is also at high levels.

Five kinds of chemicals that can be harmful to your hearing have been defined by OSHA or the Occupation Safety and Health Administration:

  • Pharmaceuticals – Hearing can be damaged by medications like antibiotics, diuretics, and analgesics. Any questions about medication that you might be taking should be discussed with your doctor and your hearing care specialist.
  • Asphyxiants – Asphyxiants decrease the amount of oxygen in the air, and consist of things like tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide. Vehicles, stoves, gas tools, and other appliances may produce dangerous levels of these chemicals.
  • Solvents – Solvents, including carbon disulfide and styrene, are used in some industries like insulation and plastics. Make sure that if you work in one of these industries, you wear all of your safety equipment and speak with your workplace safety officer about your level of exposure.
  • Nitriles – Things like super glue, latex gloves, and rubber automotive seals contain nitriles such as acrylonitrile and 3-Butenenitrile. Nitrile-based products can be advantageous because they help repel water, but exposure can harm your hearing.
  • Metals and Compounds – Hearing loss can be caused by metals like mercury and lead which also have other negative health effects. People in the metal fabrication or furniture industries may get exposed to these metals frequently.

If You Are Subjected to These Ototoxic Chemicals, What Can You do?

The solution to safeguarding your hearing from chemical exposure is to take precautions. Consult your employer about levels of exposure to these chemicals if you work in the construction, plastics, pesticide spraying, automotive, or fire-fighting fields. If your workplace offers safety equipment like protective masks, gloves, or garments, use them.

Be certain you observe all of the instructions on the labels of your medications before you take them. Use correct ventilation, including opening windows, and staying away from any chemicals or asking for help if you can’t understand any of the labels. Take extra precautions if you are around noise at the same time as chemicals as the two can have a cumulative impact on your hearing. Try to get ahead of any potential problems by having a regular hearing exam if you are on medications or if you can’t steer clear of chemicals. The various causes of hearing loss are well understood by hearing specialists so set up an appointment for a hearing test in order to avoid further damage.

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