At times the hazards to your hearing are clear: a roaring jet engine or loud machines. easy to persuade people to protect their ears when they know they will be around loud sounds. But what if there was an organic compound that was just as harmful for your hearing as too much noise? After all, just because something is organic, doesn’t that mean it’s good for you? How can something that’s organic be equally as bad for your ears as loud noise?
An Organic Compound You Don’t Want to Eat
To clarify, these organic compounds are not something you can pick up in the produce section of your grocery store and you wouldn’t want to. According to recent (and some not-so-recent) research published by European scholars, there’s a strong possibility that a collection of chemicals called organic solvents can damage your hearing even if exposure is minimal and limited. It’s worthwhile to note that, in this situation, organic doesn’t mean the kind of label you see on fruit in the supermarket. In reality, the word “organic” is utilized by marketers to make people think a product isn’t harmful for them. The word organic, when associated with food means that the growers didn’t utilize particular chemicals. When we talk about organic solvents, the word organic is related to chemistry. Within the discipline of chemistry, the word organic represents any compounds and chemicals that contain bonds between carbon atoms. Carbon atoms can produce all varieties of unique molecules and, consequently, a wide variety of different convenient chemicals. But sometimes they can also be hazardous. Each year, millions of workers are exposed to the hazards of hearing loss by working with organic solvents.
Organic Solvents, Where do You Come Across Them?
Some of the following items have organic solvents:
- Adhesives and glue
- Cleaning products
- Paints and varnishes
- Degreasing agents
You get the idea. So, here’s the question, will painting (or even cleaning) your bathroom damage your hearing?
Organic Solvents And The Hazards Related to Them
Based on the most recent research out there, the hazards associated with organic solvents generally increase the more you’re subjected to them. This means that you’ll most likely be fine while you clean your bathroom. The biggest risk is experienced by people with the most prolonged contact, in other words, factory workers who develop or utilize organic solvents on an industrial scale. Ototoxicity (toxicity to the auditory system), has been shown to be associated with exposure to organic compounds. This has been demonstrated both in lab experiments involving animals and in experiential surveys involving real people. Loss of hearing in the mid frequency range can be impacted when the little hair cells in the ear are injured by solvents. Regretfully, the ototoxicity of these compounds isn’t widely recognized by business owners. These hazards are even less recognized by workers. So those employees don’t have consistent protocols to safeguard them. One thing that may really help, for instance, would be standardized hearing examinations for all workers who deal with organic solvents on a consistent basis. These workers could get early treatment for hearing loss because it would be detected in its beginning stages.
You Have to go to Work
Most recommendations for safeguarding your hearing from these specific organic compounds include regulating your exposure and also regular hearing examinations. But first, you have to be aware of the risks before you can follow that advice. It’s not a problem when the hazards are plain to see. It’s obvious that you need to take precautions to protect against the noise of the factory floor and any other loud sounds. But when the danger is not visible as is the case for the millions of Americans who work with organic solvents, solutions can be more difficult to sell. Thankfully, as specialists sound more alarms, employees and employers are starting to make their workplaces a little bit less dangerous for everyone. For now, it’s a good strategy to only work with these products in a well-ventilated area and to wear masks. It would also be a practical plan to get your ears checked by a hearing specialist.