There are lots of well recognized causes of hearing loss, but not many people recognize the dangers that certain chemicals present to their hearing. Groups that are at risk include automotive workers, plastics, textiles, metal fabrication, and petroleum. Knowing what these harmful chemicals are and what safeguards you should take can help protect your quality of life.
Your hearing could be damaged by some chemicals
The ears themselves or the nerves inside of the ears can be toxically affected 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. These chemicals can be breathed in, absorbed, or ingested. 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 effects, whether permanent or temporary, of ototoxic hearing loss.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, identified five kinds of chemicals that can be harmful to hearing:
- Pharmaceuticals – Your hearing can be harmed by medications that contain antibiotics, analgesics, and diuretics. You can learn if any medications you might be using pose any hazards to your hearing by talking with your physician and your hearing specialist.
- Metals and compounds – Metals like mercury and lead have other harmful effects on the body, but they can also result in hearing loss. People could frequently be exposed to these metals if they’re in the furniture or metal fabrication industries.
- Asphyxiants – The amount of oxygen in the air is decreased by asphyxiants, that includes things like carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke. Vehicles, gas tools, stoves, and other appliances could put out harmful amounts of these chemicals.
- Solvents – Solvents, like carbon disulfide and styrene, are employed in certain industries such as insulation and plastics. If you work in these industries, consult your workplace safety officer about the level of exposure you might have, and use all of your safety equipment.
- Nitriles – Nitriles such as 3-Butenenitrile and acrylonitrile are utilized in producing products including automotive rubber and seals, super glue, and latex gloves. Because nitriles repel water, they are beneficial, but they can also cause hearing loss.
What should you do if you’re exposed to ototoxic chemicals?
The best way to safeguard 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. Make sure you utilize every safety material your job supplies, such as protective gloves, garments, and masks.
Read and follow all of the safety instructions listed on product labels. Use proper ventilation, including opening windows, keeping away from any chemicals, and asking for help if you can’t decipher any of the labels. Use extra safety measures if you are around noise at the same time as chemicals, as the two can have a cumulative impact on your hearing. If you can’t avoid chemicals or are on medications, make sure you have regular hearing examinations so you can attempt to nip any problems in the bud. We are experienced in dealing with the numerous causes of hearing loss and can help you put together a plan to prevent further damage.
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