Your sense of hearing is as crucial as the rest of your body’s functions. After all, you rely on hearing to communicate with others, enjoy music, and be aware of your surroundings. However, even though you’re aware of how you can experience hearing loss, did you know that there are chemicals that can increase your risk in this case?
You might not think about this often, but there’s a high possibility you’re exposed to these chemicals without knowing it. And if that’s the case, it’s essential to know how to protect yourself from them. Read on to learn about the top chemicals that increase your risk of hearing loss.
Chemicals That Can Harm Your Hearing
Remember that your ears are composed of nerves that transmit sound signals to your brain. The receptors in your inner ear are also sensitive to damage. That’s why you’re more likely to experience hearing loss as you age.
When your ears are exposed to these chemicals, you could experience hearing loss or tinnitus, a ringing in the ears. Of course, noise exposure can worsen this condition, so you need to practice safety and precaution.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) lists five kinds of chemicals that are hazardous to hearing:
- Metals and metallic compounds. Metallic substances and compounds, such as mercury and lead, can contribute to hearing loss. These can be found in many industries like mining, steel manufacturing, battery manufacturing, and recycling. Be aware of these substances the next you’re exposed to places with soldering and welding because they can provide adverse effects on your ears.
- Asphyxiants. Asphyxiants reduce the oxygen level in the air, leading to dangerous consequences. Examples of these substances include carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide, and chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs). Things like stoves, gas engines, and other appliances frequently put out harmful amounts of these chemicals. It is common for stoves, gas engines, and other appliances to emit harmful amounts of these chemicals.
- Nitriles. These are often found in rubber manufacturing and are dangerous because they can dissolve in the oils of your skin and enter your bloodstream.
- Pharmaceuticals. Some drugs can affect your hearing performance, such as ototoxic drugs (drugs that can damage the ear), diuretics (drugs that can cause dehydration and electrolyte imbalance), and certain cancer treatments.
What to Do When You’re Exposed to These Chemicals
- Visit a hearing clinic. If exposed to any of the above chemicals, you should visit a hearing clinic as soon as possible. An audiologist will conduct a hearing test to assess the extent of your hearing loss and recommend treatment options.
- Avail of hearing aids. If you have hearing loss, you can use hearing aids to improve your hearing. There are different types of hearing aids available in the market, so you can choose one that’s best for you.
- Wear hearing protection devices. If you are exposed to noise, you should wear hearing protection devices. For example, you can wear earplugs or earmuffs. If you are exposed to chemicals, you should wear a face mask.
A few chemicals have been linked to an increased risk of hearing loss. These include certain solvents and certain drugs used to treat cancer. If you are exposed to any of these chemicals, it is important to be aware of the potential risk and to take steps to protect your hearing.
Fraser Valley Beltone is a reliable hearing clinic in Langley, BC, that provides a healthy and cost-effective solution to hearing loss. We offer a wide range of services, including hearing tests and hearing aids. Get in touch with us today for more information!