There are lots of well recognized causes of hearing loss, but not many people recognize the dangers that some chemicals pose to their hearing. While there are numerous groups of people at risk, individuals in industries such as textiles, petroleum, automotive, plastics, and metal fabrication have greater exposure. You can protect your quality of life by being aware of what these chemicals are and what precautions to take.
Your hearing could be harmed by certain chemicals
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. People can come in contact with chemicals that are “ototoxic” at home or in the workplace. These chemicals can be breathed in, absorbed, or ingested. Once these chemicals are in the body, they can travel to the delicate nerves and other parts of the ear. 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:
- Pharmaceuticals – Your hearing can be damaged by medications that have antibiotics, analgesics, and diuretics. Consult your physician and your hearing health specialist about any dangers posed by your medications.
- Nitriles – Nitriles such as 3-Butenenitrile and acrylonitrile are used in making products such as automotive rubber and seals, super glue, and latex gloves. Nitrile-based products can be beneficial because they help repel water, but exposure can damage your hearing.
- Solvents – Certain industries such as plastics and insulation utilize solvents like styrene and carbon disulfide in manufacturing. If you work in these fields, talk to your workplace safety officer about the degree of exposure you might have, and use all of your safety equipment.
- Metals and compounds – Metals including lead and mercury can cause hearing loss in addition to the damage they can do to other parts of the body. People in the fabricated metal or furniture sectors might get exposed to these metals frequently.
- 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.
What can you do if you’re exposed to ototoxic chemicals?
Taking key precautions is the best way to safeguard your hearing from exposure to chemicals. 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 available to you, like gloves, masks, or garments, make use of all of it.
When you are at home, read all safety materials on products and follow the instructions to the letter. If you can, stay away from any chemicals, open up windows, use appropriate ventilation, and ask for help with any instructions you can’t comprehend. Loud noise and chemicals can have a cumulative effect on your hearing so if you find yourself in this type of scenario, take extra precautions. Try to stay 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 are experienced in dealing with the numerous causes of hearing loss and can help you formulate a plan to avoid further damage.