There are many commonly recognized causes of hearing loss, but not too many people recognize the hazards that some chemicals pose to their hearing. While there are several groups of people in danger, those in industries such as textiles, petroleum, automotive, plastics, and metal fabrication have increased exposure. Your quality of life can be enhanced by knowing what these chemicals are and how to be protected.
Select Chemicals Are Detrimental to Your Hearing. Why?
Something that has a toxic impact on the nerves of the ears or the ears themselves is known as ototoxic>. Specific chemicals are ototoxic, and people can be exposed to these chemicals at work or at home. They may absorb these chemicals through the skin, ingest, or inhale them. These chemicals, once they’re absorbed into the body, will travel into the ear, affecting the sensitive nerves. The impact is even worse when it comes with high levels of noise exposure, causing temporary or long-term loss of hearing.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, or OSHA, discovered five types of chemicals that can be hazardous to your hearing:
- Pharmaceuticals – Hearing can be damaged by drugs like antibiotics, diuretics, and analgesics. Any concerns about medication that you might be taking should be talked over with your doctor and your hearing care specialist.
- Solvents – Solvents, like carbon disulfide and styrene, are used in certain industries like insulation and plastics. If you work in these fields, talk to your workplace safety officer about the level of exposure you may have, and use all of your safety equipment.
- Nitriles – Things like latex gloves, super glue, and rubber automotive seals contain nitriles including acrylonitrile and 3-Butenenitrile. Nitrile-based products can be beneficial because they help repel water, but exposure can harm your hearing.
- Metals and Compounds – Hearing loss can be caused by metals like mercury and lead which also have other negative health effects. These metals are frequently found in the metal fabrication and furniture industries.
- Asphyxiants – Things like tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide contain asphyxiants which lowered the level of oxygen in the air. Vehicles, gas tools, stoves, and other appliances may put out dangerous levels of these chemicals.
What Can You do if You’re Exposed to Ototoxic Chemicals?
Taking precautions is the key to safeguarding your hearing. Ask your employer about levels of exposure to these chemicals if you work in the construction, plastics, pesticide spraying, automotive, or fire-fighting fields. If your workplace provides safety equipment like protective garments, masks, or gloves, use them.
Be certain you observe all of the instructions on the labels of your medications before you use them. When you are using any chemicals, if you don’t understand the label, get help, and use correct ventilation. Take extra precautions if you are exposed to noise at the same time as chemicals as the two can have a cumulative impact on your hearing. Try to get ahead of any potential problems by having a routine hearing exam if you are on medications or if you can’t steer clear of chemicals. The numerous causes of hearing loss are well understood by hearing specialists so set up an appointment for a hearing test in order to avoid further damage.