Ototoxic Chemicals and Noise at Work

Some dangerous chemicals are Ototoxic (i.e. poisonous to the ear) and a synergy has been noted between noise and some organic solvents where they are used in a noisy environment.


Ototoxic chemicals may damage the cochlea in the inner ear and/or the auditory neurological pathways leading to hearing loss, tinnitus and vertigo. It is more likely persons will experience hearing damage through a combination of chemicals and noise.


The direct evidence is limited; however awareness of this fact should be taken into account during risk assessments.

What Chemicals are Ototoxic?

Below are some chemical associated with hearing loss:


  • Benzene
  • Carbon disulfide
  • Carbon monoxide
  • Ethylbenzene
  • Hydrogen cyanide
  • Lead
  • Mercury
  • n-Hexane
  • Solvent mixtures
  • Styrene
  • Trichloroethylene
  • Toluene
  • Xylene

Other Noise Induced Hearing Risks

Pregnancy & Noise
Tinnitus at Work

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