You probably know that a noisy job can harm your hearing, but did you know that a noisy job combined with hazardous chemicals can do even more damage? According to research by Spanish scientists, workers who come in contact with certain chemicals experience higher rates of hearing loss than workers who don’t. Scientists believe that some chemicals interact with noise, leading to increases in work-related hearing loss.
According to the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH), approximately 10 million Americans are exposed to potentially dangerous combinations of noise and chemicals at work. These chemicals include solvents, such as toluene [pronounced TAHL-you-een] and xylene [ZIE-leen], insecticides, metals, and other hazardous substances. While most of these workers wear masks and gloves to protect their eyes, face, and hands, they should also consider wearing hearing protection such as earmuffs or earplugs to protect themselves from the combination of chemicals and noise.
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