There are lots of commonly recognized causes of hearing loss, but few people recognize the dangers that some chemicals present to their hearing. At risk groups include automotive workers, plastics, textiles, metal fabrication, and petroleum. Being aware of what these hazardous chemicals are and what safeguards you should take can help protect your quality of life.
Certain chemicals could be hazardous to your hearing
The word “ototoxic” means that something is toxic to either the ears themselves or the nerves in the ears that help us hear. People can be exposed to chemicals that are “ototoxic” in the workplace or at home. They can absorb these chemicals through the skin, breathe, or ingest them. These chemicals can make their way to the delicate 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 types of chemicals that can harm your hearing were defined by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA:
- Metals and compounds – Metals such as mercury and lead have other negative effects on the body, but they can also lead to hearing loss. People in the fabricated metal or furniture industries might get exposed to these metals often.
- Solvents – Solvents, like carbon disulfide and styrene, are utilized in some industries such as insulation and plastics. If you work in these fields, speak with your workplace safety officer about the level of exposure you might have, and use all of your safety equipment.
- 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 beneficial because they help repel water, but exposure can harm your hearing.
- Asphyxiants – Asphyxiants reduce the quantity of oxygen in the air and consist of things like carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke. Vehicles, gas tools, stoves, and other appliances could put out harmful levels of these chemicals.
- Pharmaceuticals – Your hearing can be harmed by medications that have antibiotics, analgesics, and diuretics. You can find out if any medications you may be using present 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 ideal 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. Any safety equipment that is provided 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, stay away from any chemicals, open up windows, use proper ventilation, and request help with any instructions you can’t comprehend. Loud noise and chemicals can have a cumulative impact on your hearing so if you find yourself in this kind of scenario, take extra precautions. Try to stay a step ahead of hearing loss by getting regular hearing exams if you are using any ototoxic medications or you can’t avoid chemicals. We are experienced in dealing with the numerous causes of hearing loss and can help you put together a plan to avoid further damage.