Most people are aware of the common causes of hearing loss but don’t comprehend the hazards that commonplace chemicals present to their hearing. While there are numerous groups of people in danger, those in industries including textiles, petroleum, automotive, plastics, and metal fabrication have increased exposure. Recognizing what these dangerous chemicals are and what precautions you should take might help protect your quality of life.
Select Chemicals Are Detrimental to Your Hearing. Why?
Something that has a toxic effect on the nerves of the ears or the ears themselves is known as ototoxic. Particular chemicals are ototoxic, and people can be exposed to these chemicals at home and in the workplace. They could absorb these chemicals through the skin, inhale, or ingest them. These chemicals, once they get into the body, will go into the ear, impacting the sensitive nerves. The impact is even worse with high levels of noise exposure, leading to temporary or long-term loss of hearing.
Five types of chemicals that can be harmful to your hearing have been confirmed by OSHA or the Occupation Safety and Health Administration:
- Pharmaceuticals – Drugs such as diuretics, antibiotics, and analgesics can cause damage to your hearing. Any questions about medication that you might be taking should be discussed with your doctor and your hearing care specialist.
- Metals and Compounds – Hearing loss can be triggered by metals like lead and mercury which also have other adverse health effects. These metals are frequently found in the metal fabrication and furniture industries.
- Asphyxiants – Things like carbon monoxide and tobacco smoke contain asphyxiants which reduce the level of oxygen in the air. Dangerous levels of these chemicals can be produced by gas tools, vehicles, stoves and other appliances.
- Solvents – Solvents, such as carbon disulfide and styrene, are used in some industries like plastics and insulation. Make sure that if you work in one of these industries, you wear all of your safety equipment and consult your workplace safety officer about how much you are exposed.
- Nitriles – Nitriles including 3-Butenenitrile and acrylonitrile are used in making products such as automotive rubber and seals, super glue, and latex gloves. Though your hearing can be harmed by these nitrile based chemicals, they have the advantage of repelling water.
What Can You do if You’re Exposed to Ototoxic Chemicals?
The solution to safeguarding your hearing from exposure to chemicals is to take precautions. If you work in an industry including plastics, automotive, fire-fighting, pesticide spraying, or construction, ask your employer about exposure levels to these chemicals. If your workplace offers safety equipment like protective masks, gloves, or garments, use them.
Be certain you adhere to all of the instructions on the labels of your medications before you take them. Use proper ventilation, including opening windows, and staying away from any chemicals or asking for help if you can’t understand any of the labels. Take added precautions if you are exposed to noise at the same time as chemicals because the two can have a cumulative impact on your hearing. If you can’t avoid chemicals or are on medications, be certain you have regular hearing tests so you can try to get ahead of any problems. Hearing specialists are experienced in dealing with the various causes of hearing loss and can help you put together a plan to avoid further damage.