You Could Have an Increased Risk of Hearing Loss With These Chemicals

Hazard pictogram of occupational chemical hazards that could cause hearing loss

Most people know about the common causes of hearing loss, but certain chemicals can also lead to hearing loss which can be surprising. At risk groups include automotive workers, plastics, textiles, metal fabrication, and petroleum. Knowing what these hazardous chemicals are and what precautions you should take can help preserve your quality of life.

Certain chemicals could be hazardous to your hearing

The ears themselves or the nerves of the ears can be toxically impacted by anything that has an “ototoxic” effect. Specific chemicals are ototoxic, and individuals can be exposed to these chemicals in the workplace or at home. They could 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. The resulting hearing loss may be temporary or long-term, and the effect is worse when noise exposure is also at high levels.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, recognized five types of chemicals that can be hazardous to hearing:

  • Nitriles – Nitriles like 3-Butenenitrile and acrylonitrile are used in making products including automotive rubber and seals, super glue, and latex gloves. Nitrile-based products can be useful because they help repel water, but exposure can harm your hearing.
  • Pharmaceuticals – Drugs, including antibiotics, diuretics, and analgesics can harm your hearing. Talk to your physician and your hearing health specialist about any dangers posed by your medications.
  • Solvents – Certain industries such as plastics and insulation utilize solvents such as styrene and carbon disulfide in manufacturing. If you work in these fields, speak with your workplace safety officer about the degree of exposure you might have, and use all of your safety equipment.
  • Metals and compounds – Metals like mercury and lead have other harmful effects on the body, but they can also trigger hearing loss. People may frequently be exposed to these metals if they work in the furniture or metal fabrication industries.
  • Asphyxiants – The amount 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 amounts of these chemicals.

What can you do if you’re exposed to ototoxic chemicals?

Taking key precautions is the ideal way to protect 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. Make sure you use all safety equipment your job offers, such as protective gloves, garments, and masks.

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 request help with any instructions you don’t understand. Loud noise and chemicals can have a cumulative effect on your hearing so if you find yourself in this type of situation, take extra precautions. If you can’t stay away from chemicals or are on medications, make sure you have regular hearing assessments so you can try to nip any problems in the bud. We can use our experience to help you come up with a plan to prevent any further damage.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

References

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4693596/

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.

Questions?

    Enhanced Hearing Center

    Springfield, MO

    3829 South Campbell AvenueSpringfield, MO 65807

    Call or Text: 417-323-6180

    Monday through Friday
    9am – 4pm

    Find out how we can help!

    Call or Text Us