Effect of Exposure to a Mixture of Organic Solvents on Hearing Thresholds in Petrochemical Industry Workers

Document Type: Original


1 Industrial Diseases Research Center, Shahid Sadoughi University of Medical Sciences, Yazd, Iran.

2 Department of Occupational Medicine, Qazvin University of Medical Sciences, Qazvin, Iran.


Hearing loss is one of the most common occupational diseases. In most workplaces, workers are exposed to noise and solvents simultaneously, so the potential risk of hearing loss due to solvents may be attributed to noise.  In this study we aimed to assess the effect of exposure to mixed aromatic solvents on hearing in the absence of exposure to hazardous noise.
Materials and Methods:
In a cross-sectional study, 99 workers from the petrochemical industry with exposure to a mixture of organic solvents whose noise exposure was lower than 85 dBA were compared with 100 un-exposed controls. After measuring sound pressure level and mean concentration of each solvent in the workplace, pure-tone-audiometry was performed and the two groups were compared in terms of high-frequency and low-frequency hearing loss. T-tests and Chi-square tests were used to compare the two groups.
The mean hearing threshold at all frequencies among petrochemical workers was normal (below 25 dB). We did not observe any significant association between solvent exposure and high-frequency or low-frequency hearing loss.
This study showed that temporary exposure (less than 4 years) to a mixture of organic solvents, without exposure to noise, does not affect workers’ hearing threshold in audiometry tests.


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