Most people are aware of the common causes of hearing loss, but some chemicals can also cause hearing loss which can be surprising. Groups that are at risk include automotive workers, plastics, textiles, metal fabrication, and petroleum. Being aware of what these harmful chemicals are and what precautions you should take can help preserve your quality of life.
Your hearing could be harmed by certain chemicals
The ears themselves or the nerves inside of the ears can be toxically impacted by anything that has an “ototoxic” effect. People can be exposed to chemicals that are “ototoxic” at home or in the workplace. These chemicals can be breathed in, absorbed, or ingested. 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 impact, whether permanent or temporary, of ototoxic hearing loss.
Five kinds of chemicals that can harm your hearing were recognized by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration or OSHA:
- Metals and compounds – Metals such as mercury and lead have other adverse effects on the body, but they can also trigger hearing loss. People could frequently be exposed to these metals if they work in the furniture or metal fabrication industries.
- Pharmaceuticals – Your hearing can be damaged by medications that have antibiotics, analgesics, and diuretics. You can figure out if any medications you may be using present any dangers to your hearing by talking to your physician and your hearing specialist.
- Asphyxiants – Asphyxiants decrease the quantity of oxygen in the air and consist of things like carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke. Vehicles, gas tools, stoves, and other appliances may put out harmful levels of these chemicals.
- Nitriles – Automotive rubber and seals, super glue and latex glove contain nitriles including acrylonitrile and butenenitrile. 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 like insulation and plastics. Wear all of your safety equipment and speak with your workplace safety officer if you work in these sectors.
If you are exposed to ototoxic chemicals, what can you do?
Taking key precautions is the best way to safeguard your hearing from exposure to chemicals. If you work in an industry like automotive, firefighting, plastics, pesticide spraying, or construction, ask your employer about exposure levels to these chemicals. Make sure you utilize all safety equipment your job offers, like protective gloves, garments, and masks.
Read and follow all of the safety instructions listed on product labels. Use appropriate ventilation, including opening windows, staying away from any chemicals, and asking for help if you are unable to decipher any of the labels. Loud noise and chemicals can have a cumulative effect on your hearing so if you find yourself in this kind of scenario, use extra precautions. Try to keep a step ahead of hearing loss by having regular screenings if you are taking any ototoxic medications or you can’t stay away from chemicals. We can use our experience to help you make a plan to prevent any further damage.