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Health care providers can refer a patient by calling the Physician Referral and Consultation Line at (800) 995-LPCH (5724), 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. The cochlea, the organ of hearing, has only around 15,000 cellsa€”far fewer than the millions of cells in our eyes.
Sounds travel in the form of sound waves, which are simply changes in atmospheric pressure. Eardrums can be ruptured by impulse noise, which is an extremely dangerous burst of acoustic energy. Auditory trauma is caused by exposure to loud noise (over 85 dB for 8 hours in a row), either once or repeatedly. Very low frequencies can mask high frequencies and make them difficult to hear (for example, the difficulty we sometimes have hearing someone speaking in a noisy room). Auditory fatigue is a temporary reduction in hearing ability, often accompanied by a ringing or buzzing in the ear.
The definition of ototoxicity, in its simplest form, is ear poisoning (“oto” references the ear and toxicity references “poisoning”).
Pregnant women may be at risk of exposing their unborn child to substances harmful to the child’s hearing. Activities where chemicals are absorbed by the body while the ears are exposed to dangerous levels of noise may increase the risk of ototoxicity (think boat building, construction, firefighting, painting, and firing weapons). If you or a friend has expressed concern over spinning, nausea, headaches, or hearing loss, ototoxicity may be the cause. This helps to identify other family members at risk for hearing loss and to provide treatment for those relatives at an early age.


And these precious few cells cana€™t be regenerateda€”another reason why you should take steps now to protect them! However, our auditory system is highly sensitive to loud noise, and frequent exposure to noise can gradually lead to hearing loss over time. Few sounds in nature are noise, but in our modern society we are frequently bombarded by noise of all kinds. Impulse noise often comes from pure, high-frequency sounds like those of an alarm being tested or a firearm going off. It results in permanent damage to the cochlea because it destroys the cochleaa€™s hair cells. This masking effect makes it almost impossible to hold a conversation in a noisy environment. Chemicals, drugs, and other agents that are known to cause hearing loss, balance disorders, or tinnitus are referred to as ototoxic.
During pregnancy, drugs such as Accutane, Dilantin, alcohol, and those used in chemotherapy can affect the fetus ototoxically.
Other chemicals associated with hearing loss are benzene, carbon disulfide, carbon monoxide, ethylbenzene, hydrogen cyanide, lead, and mercury; some of these are found in organic solvents that are widely used for a variety of commercial and recreational projects. If your provider is monitoring your hearing status, he or she will be better able to advise you on the risks of the medication and provide appropriate management.
Our office provides comprehensive solutions that can help keep our community healthy and happy. Occasionally, it is possible to find a treatable cause of the hearing loss and prevent further loss.


These noises can rupture the tympanic membrane immediately, which causes sharp, intense pain. The immediate consequence is fatigue, which can be especially dangerous in an industrial workplace because it causes distraction and difficulty concentrating. Damage to the auditory system can occur when the vestibulo-cochlear nerve, which sends balance and hearing information to the brain from the inner ear, is exposed to certain drugs or chemicals. After birth, a child’s exposure to certain aminoglycoside antibiotics, diuretics, cisplatin, and other ototoxic agents may put them at risk for hearing loss.
Some common medications known to cause temporary damage to sensory cells in the inner ear are aspirin, quinine (to treat malaria), and loop diuretics (to treat specific hearing and kidney conditions). Organic solvents (a chemical class of compounds that are typically used in commercial industries) are the most commonly identified ototoxic chemicals. The list of chemical agents in the form of gases, paints, metals, and pesticides is impressive: High-priority ototoxins present immediate danger in certain elemental forms.
Toluene, xylenes, styrenes, n-hexane, trichloroethylene, carbon monoxide, and alcohols are all considered high priority, and workers should avoid exposure to any and all relative products.



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