There are lots of commonly recognized causes of hearing loss, but few people realize the dangers that some chemicals present to their hearing. Groups that are at risk 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.
Certain chemicals could be hazardous to your hearing
The word “ototoxic” means that something has a toxic effect on either the ears themselves or the nerves in the ears that help with hearing. Specific chemicals are ototoxic, and individuals can be exposed to these chemicals in the workplace or at home. They may absorb these chemicals through the skin, inhale, or ingest them. Once these chemicals are in the body, they can travel to the fragile nerves and other parts of the ear. The resulting hearing loss might be temporary or permanent, and the impact is worse when noise exposure is also at high levels.
Five kinds of chemicals that can damage your hearing were recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA:
- Metals and compounds – Metals like lead and mercury can cause hearing loss in addition to the damage they can do to other parts of the body. People may regularly 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. Harmful amounts of these chemicals are frequently put out by things like stoves, gas engines, and other appliances.
- Nitriles – Automotive rubber and seals, super glue and latex glove have nitriles including acrylonitrile and butenenitrile. Because nitriles repel water, they are useful, but they can also contribute to hearing loss.
- Solvents – Solvents, such as carbon disulfide and styrene, are used in certain industries like insulation and plastics. Wear all of your safety equipment and speak with your workplace safety officer if you work in these sectors.
- Pharmaceuticals – Your hearing can be damaged by medications that have antibiotics, analgesics, and diuretics. Speak with your physician and your hearing health specialist about any hazards posed by your medications.
What should you do if you’re exposed to ototoxic chemicals?
The ideal way to safeguard your hearing from chemical exposure is to take key precautions. Ask your employer about your degree of exposure to these chemicals if you work in the automotive, pesticide spraying, plastics, firefighting, or construction industries. Whatever safety equipment that is supplied to you, like gloves, masks, or garments, use all of it.
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 appropriate ventilation, and request help with any instructions you don’t comprehend. Use extra safety measures 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 stay away from chemicals or are on medications, be certain 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 put together a plan to prevent further damage.