Original article

Scand J Work Environ Health 1993;19(4):245-254    pdf


Effects of occupational exposure to organic solvents and noise on hearing.

by Morata TC, Dunn DE, Kretschmer LW, Lemasters GK, Keith RW

This study explored the effects of occupational exposure to solvents and noise on hearing. Interviews and hearing tests were conducted for printing and paint manufacturing workers. The experimental groups included unexposed (N = 50) workers and workers exposed to noise (N = 50), noise and toluene (N = 51), or an organic solvent mixture (N = 39). The risk of hearing loss was greater for the exposed groups than for the unexposed group. The adjusted relative risk estimates were four times greater [95% confidence interval (95% CI) 1.4-12.2] for the noise group, 11 times greater (95% CI 4.1-28.9) for the noise and toluene group, and five times greater (95% CI 1.4-17.5) for the solvent-mixture group. The findings suggest that exposure to the studied solvents had a toxic effect on the auditory system and that an interaction between noise and toluene took place. The audiological results of the noise and toluene group suggest a central auditory pathway involvement in the hearing losses observed.