There are lots of well recognized causes of hearing loss, but few people recognize the dangers that certain chemicals pose to their hearing. While there are several groups of people at risk, those in industries like 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 some chemicals
The ears themselves or the nerves of the ears can be toxically impacted by anything that has an “ototoxic” effect. Certain chemicals are ototoxic, and people can be exposed to these chemicals in the workplace or at home. They could absorb these chemicals through the skin, breathe, or ingest them. Once these chemicals are in the body, they can travel to the delicate nerves and other parts of the ear. Noise exposure will multiply the negative effects, 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:
- Asphyxiants – Asphyxiants lower 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 amounts of these chemicals.
- Nitriles – Nitriles like 3-Butenenitrile and acrylonitrile are used in making products including automotive rubber and seals, super glue, and latex gloves. Because nitriles repel water, they are beneficial, but they can also contribute to hearing loss.
- Pharmaceuticals – Drugs, such as antibiotics, diuretics, and analgesics can damage hearing. Talk to your physician and your hearing health specialist about any hazards posed by your medications.
- Solvents – Solvents, such as carbon disulfide and styrene, are employed in some industries like insulation and plastics. If you work in these industries, speak with your workplace safety officer about the degree of exposure you might have, and use all of your safety equipment.
- Metals and compounds – Metals like lead and mercury can lead to hearing loss in addition to the damage they can do to other parts of the body. People may frequently be exposed to these metals if they work in the furniture or metal fabrication industries.
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. You need to use all safety equipment your job provides, such as protective gloves, garments, and masks.
Read and follow all of the safety guidelines listed on product labels. Use proper ventilation, including opening windows, keeping away from any chemicals, and asking for help if you can’t understand any of the labels. Use extra safety measures if you’re around noise at the same time as chemicals, as the two can have a cumulative effect on your hearing. If you can’t stay away from chemicals or are on medications, make sure you have regular hearing tests 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 formulate a plan to prevent further damage.