There are many commonly recognized causes of hearing loss, but few people realize the hazards that some chemicals present to their hearing. There is an greater exposure risk for people who work in metal fabrication, automotive-plastics, petroleum, and textiles. Knowing what these hazardous chemicals are and what precautions you should take can help maintain your quality of life.
Certain Chemicals Are Harmful to Your Hearing. Why?
Something that has a toxic effect on the nerves of the ears or the ears themselves is known as ototoxic>. At home or in the workplace, individuals can be exposed to ototoxic chemicals. They might absorb these chemicals through the skin, ingest, or inhale them. Once these chemicals get into the body, they can impact the delicate nerves and other parts of the ear. The resulting hearing loss might be temporary or permanent, and the effect is worse when noise exposure is also at high levels.
Five types of chemicals that can be hazardous to your hearing have been confirmed by OSHA or the Occupation Safety and Health Administration:
- Pharmaceuticals – Hearing can be damaged by medications like diuretics, antibiotics, and analgesics. Consult your regular physician and your hearing health specialist about any dangers presented by your medications.
- Solvents – Certain industries including insulation and plastics use solvents such as styrene and carbon disulfide in manufacturing. Be certain that if you work in one of these industries, you use all of your safety equipment and talk to your workplace safety officer about your level of exposure.
- Asphyxiants – Asphyxiants reduce the amount of oxygen in the air, and include things like tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide. Vehicles, stoves, gas tools, and other appliances might put out dangerous 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 advantage of repelling water.
- Metals and Compounds – Metals including lead and mercury have other harmful effects on the body, but they can also lead to hearing loss. People in the metal fabrication or furniture industries could be exposed to these metals regularly.
What Should You do if You’re Exposed to Ototoxic Chemicals?
Taking precautions is the key to protecting your hearing. Consult your employer about levels of exposure to these chemicals if you work in the construction, plastics, pesticide spraying, automotive, or fire-fighting industries. Be certain you make use of every safety material your job provides, such as protective garment, gloves, and masks.
When you are home, read all safety labels on products and follow the instructions to the letter. When you are using any chemicals, if your not sure about what the label means, ask for help, and use proper ventilation. Take added 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 nip any potential problem in the bud by having a routine hearing test if you are on medications or if you can’t steer clear of chemicals. The various causes of hearing loss are well known to hearing specialists so make an appointment for a hearing test in order to stop further damage.