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April/May 2008 (vol. 04/6)

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Research Plus

Solvent-induced hearing loss

An evidence review on ototoxicity examined the effects of human exposure to styrene on the auditory system. Study populations varied from 16 to more than 500 workers, with exposure levels established from direct measurement of airborne styrene, biological monitoring, or estimates based on company records and questionnaire data. Nine studies were analysed, seven showed some effects on the auditory system associated with styrene exposure alone (ie noise exposure was not a factor). Reported effects are generally negligible and usually sub-clinical and it is not possible to identify dose–response relationships. The authors note the limitations of using pure-tone audiograms for investigating hearing damage due to styrene exposure owing to possible effects on the central nervous system.

International Journal of Occupational Medicine and Environmental Health 2007; 20(4): 315–325.  

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Occupational Health at Work April/May 2008 (vol. 04/6) pp40