Chemical-Induced Hearing Loss in Shipyard Workers
The aim of this study was to determine the effect of lead, cadmium, arsenic, toluene, and xylene exposure on hearing compared with noise exposures alone.Methods:
Personnel at a shipyard (n = 1266) were divided into four exposure groups on the basis of concentrations: low metals/low solvents/high noise (reference group), high metals/high solvents/low noise, high metals/low solvents/high noise, and high metals/high solvents/high noise. Hearing changes occurring from the years 2004 to 2015 were analyzed.Results:
Hearing changes were significantly worse at 1000 Hz (P = 0.007), averaged across 2000 to 4000 Hz (P = 0.014), and averaged across 500 to 6000 Hz (P = 0.014) for the high metals/high solvent/high noise group compared with the low metals/low solvents/high noise only reference group.Conclusion:
Simultaneous exposures classified as high for metals/solvents/noise appear to damage hearing more than exposure to noise alone. Hearing conservation programs should take into consideration combined exposures to metals, solvents, and noise, not simply exposure to noise.