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Year : 2000  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 9  |  Page : 11--21

Characterising conditions that favour potentiation of noise induced hearing loss by chemical asphyxiants

Centre for Toxicology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre, Oklahoma City OK 73190, USA

Correspondence Address:
Laurence D Fechter
Centre for Toxicology, University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Centre, Oklahoma City OK 73190
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

PMID: 12689439

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Hearing loss is the most common occupational disease in the United States with noise serving as the presumed causative agent in most instances; noise is identified as a prominent factor in approximately 10 million individuals in the United States with hearing impairments. Despite the characterization of noise exposures that yield temporary and permanent threshold shifts and partial elucidation of mechanisms that are responsible for noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL), there remain significant knowledge gaps concerning factors causing NIHL. One such knowledge gap concerns potentiation of NIHL by simultaneous exposure to chemical agents. We have pursued investigation of the exposure conditions that facilitate the potentiation of NIHL by carbon monoxide. The selection of these specific agents is predicated upon the ubiquitous nature of exposure to chemical asphyxiants and a preliminary understanding of the mechanisms by which chemical asphyxiants disrupt hearing. Our data indicate that the potentiation of NIHL by carbon monoxide increases as a function of carbon monoxide concentration at levels of 500 ppm and above, but that the extent of potentiation shows a non­linear relationship to total noise energy with the greatest potentiation shown at moderate noise exposures that produce limited permanent threshold shifts. Further, the potentiation of NIHL by carbon monoxide appears to saturate as noise severity is increased such that at the most severe conditions used, the effects of carbon monoxide on NIHL are obscured totally by the noise effect. Finally, the data presented demonstrate that carbon monoxide is able to impair the recovery of NIHL that normally occurs when periods of silence are interspersed within noise exposure.


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