Call or Text Us! 708-628-5932

Man spraying his lawn with ototoxic chemicals that harm his hearing.

Many people are familiar with the common causes of hearing loss but don’t realize the risks that everyday chemicals present to their hearing. While there are numerous groups of people in danger, those in industries like textiles, petroleum, automotive, plastics, and metal fabrication have greater exposure. Recognizing what these harmful chemicals are and what precautions you should take might help preserve your quality of life.

Certain Chemicals Are Harmful to Your Hearing. Why?

The term “ototoxic” means that something has a toxic impact on either the ears themselves or the nerves inside of the ears that help us hear. At work or at home, individuals can be exposed to ototoxic chemicals. They could absorb these chemicals through the skin, ingest, or inhale them. Once these chemicals get into the body, they can impact the delicate nerves and other portions of the ear. The effect is even worse with high levels of noise exposure, leading to temporary or permanent hearing loss.

Five kinds of chemicals that can be hazardous to your hearing have been confirmed by OSHA or the Occupation Safety and Health Administration:

  • Pharmaceuticals – Drugs like antibiotics, diuretics, and analgesics can damage hearing. Consult your primary physician and your hearing health specialist about any hazards posed by your medications.
  • Asphyxiants – Asphyxiants decrease the amount of oxygen in the air, and consist of things like tobacco smoke and carbon monoxide. Dangerous levels of these chemicals can be produced by vehicles, gas tools, stoves and other appliances.
  • Nitriles – Nitriles like 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 advantageous because they help repel water, but exposure can harm your hearing.
  • Solvents – Solvents, like styrene and carbon disulfide, are used in certain industries like plastics and insulation. If you work in these fields, talk to your workplace safety officer about how much exposure you may have, and wear all of your safety equipment.
  • Metals and Compounds – Metals including lead and mercury have other harmful effects on the body, but they can also trigger hearing loss. People in the fabricated metal or furniture industries may be exposed to these metals regularly.

What Should You do if You’re subjected to Ototoxic Chemicals?

The solution to protecting your hearing from chemical exposure is to take precautions. If you work in a sector such as automotive, fire-fighting, plastics, pesticide spraying, or construction, ask your employer about levels of exposure to these chemicals. Make sure you make use of every safety material your job offers, such as protective garment, gloves, and masks.

When you’re at home, read all safety labels on products and follow the instructions to the letter. When you are using any chemicals, if your not sure about what the label means, ask for help, and use proper ventilation. Chemicals and noise can have a cumulative impact on your hearing, so if you are around both simultaneously, take extra precautions. Try to get ahead of any potential problems by having a regular hearing test if you are on medications or if you can’t avoid chemicals. Hearing specialists are experienced in dealing with the numerous causes of hearing loss and can help you put together a plan to avoid further damage.

Call Today to Set Up an Appointment

The site information is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. To receive personalized advice or treatment, schedule an appointment.
Why wait? You don't have to live with hearing loss. Call or Text Us