Lots of us know that hearing loss is often caused by loud sounds that come into contact with the ear very up close and personal. This could be the popping of a balloon, a jet aircraft or perhaps very noisy machinery. But did you know that hearing can be damaged through harmful chemicals as well?
Yes, harmful chemicals can damage your hearing, because there are very small but sensitive hairs in your ears. If chemicals reach them inside the inner ear, this can mean they corrode and erode the ear hairs and leave them unable to catch and vibrate to then emit messages to your brain. So, what kinds of chemicals should you be wary of and avoid, and what can be done to correct the damage that has already been done?
Chemicals that Cause Hearing Loss
Anything that is ototoxic refers to a special kind of toxic impact either on the ear itself, or on the nerves that are inside the ear. These nerves, together with the minute hairs, assist you in hearing. They relay messages to your eardrums in other words. These ototoxic chemicals can be found anywhere. They can be absorbed through the mouth, inhaled through the lungs or simply, from the surface of your skin:
- Pharmaceuticals can affect your hearing if they are not properly prescribed by your hearing instrument specialist. These could be antibiotics, which kills bad cells as well as good cells. This is why they are only for a limited amount of use. Diuretics can also cause harm but so can analgesics. Speak with your doctor about any medication you might be on, if you are concerned some of this could apply to you.
- Solvents are also a clear danger. Some solvents in plastics, such as carbon disulfide and styrene, can cause damage to your hearing over time. This is why many companies have banned them from their use.
- Asphyxiants reduce the total amount of oxygen in the air. So, things like tobacco smoke for example, can cause damage to your hearing over time. And it makes sense. That harmful smoke makes you cough, so what do you think is happening to your inner ear when it eventually travels there too?
How to Avoid These Chemicals
For one thing, you can read the back of the product. On the label, it should say what is in the chemical product and if they mention any of the things we have, then you should avoid them. A quick search online should reveal an extensive list of chemicals you should avoid.
If it's at work, then inform your manager or boss about your concerns. They should offer hearing protection even if you’re not in a very noisy environment. Chemicals are known to damage the hairs and nerves in your ears, so even a simple pair of earplugs at work could help to avoid this sort of stuff.
If you have to use certain products that are harmful to your hearing, then make sure there is good air flow in the area. Open up some windows, turn on the ventilation and try not to hang around the zone for too long.
What About the Damage Done?
Now is the time to see a hearing instrument specialist. They can use various instruments to test your ear nerves and hair, to see how much your hearing is impaired. They can also investigate the type of damage done and thus, link it indicatively to certain chemicals. They will know if it's solvent damage or perhaps antibiotics. There’s simply no way for a normal person to know this, unless they go and see a hearing instrument specialist.
So, what can you do? We offer some cutting-edge hearing aids that are suitable for any lifestyle. If you have an active lifestyle then perhaps a smaller more subtle hearing aid style like the in the canal would be best for you. If you need something more powerful, then a behind the ear is something to consider. We know getting a hearing aid for the first time can be daunting, but our professionals are here to tailor our services and approach to suit you.
If you would like to know more about chemicals that can harm your hearing, or you would like to know more about the hearing aid options you have, then speak with us today. To learn more about Nu-Life Hearing Center, call us today at 905-697-3838.