There are lots of commonly recognized causes of hearing loss, but not many people recognize the dangers that some chemicals pose to their hearing. While there are numerous groups of people at risk, those in industries such as textiles, petroleum, automotive, plastics, and metal fabrication have greater exposure. Knowing what these hazardous chemicals are and what safeguards you should take can help preserve your quality of life.
Your hearing could be damaged by certain chemicals
The ears themselves or the nerves inside of the ears can be toxically affected by anything that has an “ototoxic” effect. People can be exposed to chemicals that are “ototoxic” at home or in the workplace. They can absorb these chemicals through the skin, breathe, or ingest them. These chemicals can make their way to the sensitive nerves of the ears once they get into the body. Noise exposure will multiply the negative effects, whether permanent or temporary, of ototoxic hearing loss.
Five types of chemicals that can damage your hearing were defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA:
- Pharmaceuticals – Your hearing can be damaged by medications that contain antibiotics, analgesics, and diuretics. Speak with your physician and your hearing health specialist about any dangers posed by your medications.
- Asphyxiants – The level of oxygen in the air is decreased by asphyxiants, including things like carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke. Vehicles, gas tools, stoves, and other appliances may put out harmful levels of these chemicals.
- Nitriles – Nitriles such as 3-Butenenitrile and acrylonitrile are utilized in producing products such as automotive rubber and seals, super glue, and latex gloves. Because nitriles repel water, they are beneficial, but they can also cause hearing loss.
- Solvents – Solvents, like carbon disulfide and styrene, are utilized in some industries such as insulation and plastics. If you work in these industries, speak with your workplace safety officer about the degree of exposure you might have, and wear all of your safety equipment.
- Metals and compounds – Metals including lead and mercury can result in hearing loss in addition to the harm they can do to other parts of the body. People in the fabricated metal or furniture sectors may get exposed to these metals frequently.
If you are exposed to ototoxic chemicals, what should you do?
Taking key precautions is the ideal way to safeguard your hearing from exposure to chemicals. If you work in an industry such as automotive, firefighting, plastics, pesticide spraying, or construction, ask your employer about exposure levels to these chemicals. Any safety equipment that is supplied to you, including gloves, masks, or garments, make use of all of it.
When you are at home, read all safety labels on products and adhere to the instructions to the letter. If you can, keep away from any chemicals, open up windows, use appropriate ventilation, and ask for help with any instructions you can’t understand. Take extra precautions if you’re around noise at the same time as chemicals, as the two can have a cumulative impact 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 addressing the numerous causes of hearing loss and can help you formulate a plan to avoid further damage.