There are many well recognized causes of hearing loss, but not many people recognize the dangers that some 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.
Your hearing could be harmed by some chemicals
The ears themselves or the nerves inside of the ears can be toxically affected by anything that has an “ototoxic” effect. People can come in contact with chemicals that are “ototoxic” in the workplace or at home. These chemicals can be inhaled, absorbed, or ingested. These chemicals can travel to the sensitive nerves of the ears once they get into the body. Noise exposure will increase the negative impact, whether permanent or temporary, of ototoxic hearing loss.
Five kinds of chemicals that can harm your hearing were identified by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA:
- Nitriles – Automotive rubber and seals, super glue and latex glove contain nitriles including acrylonitrile and butenenitrile. Because nitriles repel water, they are beneficial, but they can also contribute to hearing loss.
- Asphyxiants – The amount of oxygen in the air is reduced by asphyxiants, that includes things like carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke. Harmful amounts of these chemicals are frequently produced by things like stoves, gas engines, and other appliances.
- Solvents – Solvents, such as carbon disulfide and styrene, are used in certain industries like insulation and plastics. Use all of your safety equipment and talk to your workplace safety officer if you work in these sectors.
- Metals and compounds – Metals such as mercury and lead have other adverse effects on the body, but they can also trigger hearing loss. Individuals may frequently be exposed to these metals if they’re in the furniture or metal fabrication industries.
- Pharmaceuticals – Drugs, including antibiotics, diuretics, and analgesics can damage hearing. You can determine if any medications you might be taking pose any dangers to your hearing by consulting your physician and your hearing specialist.
If you are exposed to ototoxic chemicals, what should you do?
The best way to protect your hearing from chemical exposure is to take key precautions. Consult your employer about your degree of exposure to these chemicals if you work in the automotive, pesticide spraying, plastics, firefighting, or construction industries. You need to utilize every safety material your job offers, like protective gloves, garments, and masks.
When you are at home, go over all safety labels on products and follow the instructions to the letter. If you can, keep away from any chemicals, open up windows, use proper 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 avoid chemicals or are on medications, make sure you have regular hearing tests 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 come up with a plan to prevent further damage.