Original Research

The effects of combined exposure of solvents and noise on auditory function – A systematic review and meta-analysis

Faatima Nakhooda, Benn Sartorius, Samantha M. Govender
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 66, No 1 | a568 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v66i1.568 | © 2019 Faatima Nakhooda, Benn Sartorius, Samantha M. Govender | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 25 June 2017 | Published: 09 May 2019

About the author(s)

Faatima Nakhooda, Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Benn Sartorius, School of Nursing and Public Health, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Samantha M. Govender, Discipline of Audiology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Chemical substances can negatively affect the auditory system. Chemical substances alone or combined with high-level noise have recently become a major concern as a cause of occupational hearing loss.

Objective: To assess the combined effect of solvents and noise versus solvents only, or noise only, on the auditory function of workers.

Method: Published articles which included noise and/or solvent exposure or combined effects of solvents and noise, studies conducted on human beings only and the use of audiological tests on participants.

Results: Thirteen papers were eligible for inclusion. The participants’ ages ranged from 18 to 68 years. Results revealed that 24.5% presented with hearing loss as a result of noise exposure only; 18% presented with hearing loss owing to solvent exposure only; and a total of 43.3% presented with hearing loss owing to combined noise and solvent exposure. Furthermore, the prevalence of hearing loss in the noise and solvent group was significantly (p < 0.001) higher than the other groups in 10 out of the 13 studies analysed, with a pooled odds ratio (OR) of 2.754. Of the 178 participants (total of all participants exposed to solvents), a total of 32 participants presented with auditory pathology as a result of exposure to solvents only. There was a significantly higher pooled odds of hearing loss in noise and solvent-exposed group compared to solvent-only group (pooled OR = 2.15, 95% CI: 1.24–3.72, p = 0.006).

Conclusion: The findings revealed significantly higher odds of acquiring hearing loss when workers were exposed to a combination of solvents and noise as opposed to solvents only, motivating for its inclusion into hearing conservation programmes.


Keywords

Solvents; solvent induced hearing Loss; SIHL; ototoxicity; noise Induced hearing loss.

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