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Chemical Hearing Loss

Friday, April 27, 2018 10:28:23 AM Australia/Melbourne

Chemical Hearing LossThere are many misconceptions about hearing loss. Some may be more obvious than others and some might be brand-new news to you. At Hearlink, it’s our job to decipher them and to clarify to our valued community of customers. We’re passionate about info-sharing. We feel that it’s one of the most powerful tools that you can have as someone impacted by hearing loss. When you know how the industry works, the science behind hearing loss and what you can do to not let it interfere with your daily routines, you’re in much more of a power position and can feel much more confident about prevention, treatment and rehabilitation.


One of the aforementioned misconceptions is the idea that hearing loss can only take place if you’re around really loud noises, like environmental hearing loss. For those unfamiliar, environmental hearing loss is common if you work in industries that have factories or workshops or are located in very metropolitan areas. You’re likely to find it in large cities and less likely to in rural or suburban neighbourhoods. But just because you eliminate environmental hearing loss from the equation, you could still fall prey to chemical hearing loss, which is a whole different ballgame.


The suspect in this arena is ototoxicants (fun word, isn’t it?). They’re chemicals that when inhaled, absorbed or even ingested can cause both balance issues and hearing loss. Where do you find them? You may be wondering. Most frequently ototoxicants are seen in medications, in solvents and in pesticides. This information is hot off of the press, with a Safe and Health Information Bulletin just published last month.


Let’s break this down even further. There are technically five categories of ototoxic chemicals. These are pharmaceuticals, asphyxiants, metals and compounds, nitriles and solvents. The industries that we mentioned earlier, that tend to get hit hard by environmental hearing loss don’t get much of a break here either. If you work in agriculture, mining, utilities or construction, it’s important to take preventative measures and avoid ingesting these in any form. Specific roles that we’d call out include textile and apparel support, those that paint, builders of boats and ships and metal workers and fabricators.


Now there’s one particular type of this hearing loss that Hearlink would like to call out. It’s particularly hazardous and causes the worker affected to not be able to distinguish the voices of his or her co-worker. That might not sound like so much of a big deal, especially if there are workplace conversations that you’d prefer to tune out. But this also means that warning noises and sounds bare no different to ambient noise, putting you at risk if you work in environments where you really need to be on you’re a-game.


The research is limited but it’s growing. Hearlink promises to keep a pulse-check on this new type of hearing loss and the hazardous materials that cause it. Questions? Comments? Give us a shout. The team at Hearlink would love to hear from you today.

Posted in Industry News By

Hearlink Admin