OSHA Hearing Loss Info

October 05, 2018

Noise induced hearing loss is one of the more common causes to hearing loss today. For that reason, The United States Department of Labor publishes Safety and Health Information Bulletins under the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In March 2018, a bulletin titled “Preventing Hearing Loss Caused by Chemical (Ototoxicity) and Noise Exposure” was published.  https://www.osha.gov/dts/shib/shib030818.html

The bulletin alerts us that “Millions of workers are exposed to noise in the workplace every day and when uncontrolled, noise exposure may cause permanent hearing loss. Research demonstrates exposure to certain chemicals, called ototoxicants, may cause hearing loss or balance problems, regardless of noise exposure.  Substances including certain pesticides, solvents, and pharmaceuticals that contain ototoxicants can negatively affect how the ear functions, causing hearing loss, and/or affect balance. The risk of hearing loss is increased when workers are exposed to these chemicals while working around elevated noise levels. “

The bulletin discusses industries which have potential ototoxicants include manufacturing, construction and agriculture as well as occupations which may have high noise exposure such as manufacturing, construction, firefighting and weapons firing to name a few.

Whatever your profession, it is wise to consider hearing protection if your daily life includes noise exposure even if you do not know of ototoxic exposure.

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