NIOSHTIC-2 Publications Search
Ototoxicity: an issue in hearing-loss prevention in the workplace.
Update: The Newsletter of the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation 2004 Summer; 16(2):7, 9
Skepticism is a common reaction people have when they hear that chemicals in the workplace may affect hearing. I have to admit that before studying chemicals, I asked myself, "If this is a serious issue that can impact the quality of life, how could it have been overlooked by the scientific and public health community for this long?" My professional experience and an examination of the literature on noise and hearing conservation lead me to believe that since noise is often present in most occupational settings where chemical exposures occur, the hearing disorders observed in these situations were often attributed to noise exposure alone. Not much consideration, if any, was given to the possibility of other factors. Only workers who have noise exposures above 85 dBA TWA are required to have their hearing tested periodically, by means of pure-tone air-conduction audiometry. Pure-tone audiometric thresholds only identify the magnitude of the hearing disorder, not the cause. The audiometric configuration in cases of noise-induced hearing loss and ototoxicity can be identical. If careful analyses of these results were not performed and attention not given to all the exposure conditions, it is possible that the observed hearing disorders were attributed solely to noise. These factors could explain the scarcity of research conducted until recently on ototoxic properties of chemicals present in the environment and in the workplace.
Hearing-conservation; Hearing-loss; Hearing-protection; Ototoxicity; Chemical-reactions; Audiological-testing; Audiometry; Exposure-assessment; Noise-exposure; Noise-induced-hearing-loss; Solvents; Neurotoxic-effects
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, Division of Applied Research and Technology, Mail Stop C-27, 4676 Columbia Parkway, Cincinnati, OH 45226
108-88-3; 630-08-0; 74-90-8
Issue of Publication
Disease and Injury: Hearing Loss
Update: The Newsletter of the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation
Page last reviewed: April 12, 2019
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division