Work Noise + Chemicals May = Deafness

ZARAGOZA, Spain, Oct. 6 (UPI) — Spanish researchers say they have linked the combination of noise and chemicals to the loss of hearing in young workers.

Researchers at the University of Zaragoza in Spain say chemical contaminants can interact with noise and modify how workers experience work-related “deafness” — an increasingly common condition among young people. Non-noise caused deafness, the researchers say, is the most common occupational disease in Europe.


“Workers exposed to noise in the presence of metalworking fluids exhibit a delay in hearing alteration in comparison with those exposed only to noise at the same intensity. However, those exposed to noise in the presence of welding fumes experience increased hearing alteration,” lead author Juan Carlos Conte says in a statement. “A problem we detected with respect to welding fumes in the presence of noise was that the protection used is effective for reducing the intensity of noise, but not for reducing the effects of the chemical contaminant.”

The researchers note other factors, such as tobacco-use — smoking is considered a risk factor for the acquisition of initial acoustic trauma — or an injury to the inner ear due to very loud noise may have an impact on advanced acoustic injury.

The study, published in Anales del Sistema Sanitario de Navarra, looked at the way in which various physical and chemical contaminants interact may impact hearing alteration in 558 metal workers.

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Categorized | Chemicals, Other, Smoking
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