The Connection Between Hearing Loss and Carbon Monoxide

Hearing loss and carbon monoxide written by: Edanny Mechanics exposed to noises louder than 90 decibels along with carbon monoxide experiences a more severe form of hearing loss. Occupational deafness also known as noise induced hearing is the deterioration of a persons hearing over a long period of time due to the working environment. In many countries, workers are usually at a higher risk of industrial deafness particularly those working in car repair shops, ship building, and coal mining.

Carbon monoxide’s effects on hearing

Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning is a common cause of hearing loss in the vehicle repair shops. The poisoning can cause unilateral, bilateral, reversible or irreversible hearing loss after the chronic or acute exposure alongside high noise levels. Carbon monoxide is a colorless gas which is also a common mortality cause if a person is highly exposed to it.

It is usually a byproduct of incomplete hydrocarbons combustion. Inadequate ventilation is the leading second source of CO exposure after smoking. The affinity of carbon monoxide for hemoglobin is 200x that of oxygen. The bonding of hemoglobin with CO causes the production of Carboxyhemoglobin which lowers the blood oxygen carrying capacity, shifts hemoglobin dissociation curve leftwards and competes with oxygen at heme binding sites. Exposure to CO can also cause inflammation through some mechanisms independent of hypoxia and this can cause cardiac and neurologic injuries.

carbon monoxide hearing loss protection

There are no specific symptoms of CO poisoning. Acute mild CO exposure can cause dizziness, headaches, myalgia, and neurologic disturbances while heavier exposure to this gas can lead to myocardinal infraction, retinal hemorrhage, consciousness loss, coma or even death. After the CO poisoning, a person may experience some neurologic sequel such as peripheral neuropathy, motor disturbances and hearing loss. Chronic exposure can produce some different symptoms which include memory loss, fatigue, sleep disturbances and hearing loss. Sensorineural hearing loss is one of complications which result from chronic or acute CO exposure.

What shows you are likely to develop hearing loss?

Each and every year around 22 million US employees encounter noise exposures which can cause hearing loss. In addition to hearing loss and some other hearing disorders, any prolonged exposure to noise may increase the risk of cardiovascular healthy, affect the quality of your life, and highly cost the entire society.

Occupational hearing loss results from prolonged exposure to high noise levels, that is noise levels beyond 90 decibels are said to be quite hazardous to hearing. Anytime you find yourself raising your voice to communicate with a person a length of an arm away, you should know that the noises are loud enough to damage your hearing. Another way of estimating the noise levels would be to use a smartphone sound level meter app. The factors that influence your risk of exposure include:

• Noise level: people experiencing higher noise levels are at a higher risk of developing hearing loss.

• The duration exposure: noises that last for longer periods are more hazardous than those that last for a short period.

• Impulsiveness: noises with abrupt starts and stops including hammering, fireworks and gunfire are more dangerous than the noises of same level that are constant.

• Intermittency: relatively quiet periods between noise exposures will allow the ear to rest and therefore reduce hearing loss risk.

• Carbon monoxide also highly increases the risk of hearing loss.

All mechanics aren’t equally vulnerable to noise induced hearing loss. Biological factors such as age, gender, ethnicity/race, health issues and genetics influence the workers susceptibility to the noise effects. Your ear won’t experience pain in a similar way the other body parts do. If your ear feels full or stuffy, they may be telling you that you have potentially harmed them. Roaring or ringing inside your ears may indicate a serious noise exposure that can lead to permanent damage or even hearing loss if continued.
Noise induced hearing loss prevention

National institute of Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) suggests preventing the hazardous noise exposure through noise exposure controls and encouraging the employers to buy the quiet programs as a first step.

And even though control or removal of the hazardous noise from a workplace is the most ideal solution, where eliminating dangerous noise exposure is hard, mechanics should use hearing protectors.

The main danger about carbon monoxide is that it is colorless and therefore detecting it can be hard. It is tasteless and odorless and therefore doesn’t give its victims any advance warning. The internal combustion engines are the primary source of this gas particularly if they aren’t properly maintained. People at higher risks are those working in enclosed areas which include vehicle repair shops. The best way to control this gas is to provide adequate ventilation in the work environment.