Effects of Noise and Chemical Exposure on Peripheral and Central Auditory Pathways in Normal-hearing Workers


Objectives: To assess the effects of noise and chemical exposure on peripheral and central auditory pathways in normal-hearing workers exposed to chemicals or high noise levels and compare the groups with each other and with workers not exposed to either of these agents.

Methods: A total of 54 normal-hearing workers were divided into three groups (chemical, noise, control) and submitted to the following assessments: conventional and extended high-frequency pure-tone audiometry; transient and distortion-product otoacoustic emissions, the inhibitory effect of the efferent auditory pathway; and Staggered Spondaic Word (SSW) and Pitch Pattern Sequence (PPS) test.

Results: There were no significant differences between the groups in extended high-frequency hearing thresholds. Significantly lower amplitudes were observed in the noise group for otoacoustic emissions. There were significantly more absences of the inhibitory effect of the efferent system in the noise group. There was no difference between the groups in the SSW test, while in PPS, the noise group performed worse than the control group.

Conclusion: These findings suggest that noise exposure produced deleterious effects on the workers’ peripheral and central auditory systems, despite their normal hearing thresholds. The chemical group did not have significantly different results from those of the control group. It is important that individuals exposed to noise or chemicals have their auditory pathways monitored with complementary assessments.

Authors: Júlio Cs Trabanco, Bruno Morita, Carla Gentile Matas, Karina Mary de Paiva, Renata R Moreira, Seisse Gg Sanches, Alessandra G Samelli
; Full Source: Noise & health 2022 Jul-Sep;24(114):182-190. doi: 10.4103/nah.nah_10_22.