Open Access

Ototoxic Substances at the Workplace: a Brief Update

   | Jun 21, 2012

Ototoxic chemicals can impair the sense of hearing and balance. Lately, efforts have been intensified to compile evidence-based lists of workplace agents with ototoxic properties. This article gives a rough overview of the latest relevant publications, which confirm that toluene, styrene, and lead should receive particular attention as ototoxic substances at the workplace. Moreover, there is sufficient evidence that occupational exposure to trichloroethylene, mercury, carbon monoxide, and carbon disulfide can affect the ear. Based on the existing information, industrial hygienists should make sure that occupational health professionals and the workforce are made aware of the risks posed by ototoxic substances; support their replacement or new technical measures to reduce exposure; make these substances a part of regular screening, develop tools that can early diagnose chemically induced hearing impairment, and investigate further into the ototoxic properties of these substances. Further research should focus on quantifying the combined effects of ototoxic substances and noise.

English, Slovenian
Publication timeframe:
4 times per year
Journal Subjects:
Medicine, Basic Medical Science, other