2016-03-01 12:00 - Messages

Ototoxic chemicals

Chemicals that result in hearing loss
It is well documented that occupational noise exposure is a significant health hazard that leads to permanent noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and we have the National Exposure Standard for Occupational Noise to deal with this.  It is less well known that a substantial number of medications and common industrial chemicals can also cause hearing loss themselves or exacerbate the effects of noise.  These chemicals are said to be ototoxic (oto = ear, toxic = poisonous). 
They may damage the cochlea in the inner ear and/or the auditory neurological pathways leading to hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo.  Hearing damage is more likely if exposure is to a combination of chemicals or a combination of the chemicals and noise.
Ototoxic chemicals can be divided into two general classes: workplace chemicals and medication. Currently it is thought that more than 750 different groups of chemicals are potentially ototoxic, but only a few of these have been studied in any depth. 

Source: http://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/worksafe/ototoxic-chemicals-chemicals-result-hearing-loss

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