Cochlear dysfunction is associated with styrene exposure in humans

Autoři: Mariola Sliwinska-Kowalska aff001;  Adrian Fuente aff002;  Ewa Zamyslowska-Szmytke aff001
Působiště autorů: Department of Audiology and Phoniatrics, Nofer Institute of Occupational Medicine, Lodz, Poland aff001;  Centre de recherche de l’Institut universitaire de gériatrie de Montréal, Québec, Canada aff002;  École d’orthophonie et d’audiologie, Faculté de médecine, Université de Montréal, Québec, Canada aff003
Vyšlo v časopise: PLoS ONE 15(1)
Kategorie: Research Article
doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0227978



Occupational exposure to styrene has been shown to be associated with an increased probability of developing hearing loss. However, the sites of lesions in the auditory system in humans remain unknown. The aim of this study was to investigate the possible adverse effects of styrene exposure on the cochlea of human subjects.


The hearing function of 98 styrene-exposed male workers from the glass fibre-reinforced plastics industry (mean concentration of 55 mg/m3) was evaluated bilaterally using pure-tone audiometry (1000–16000 Hz), distortion product otoacoustic emissions (DPOAEs), and auditory brainstem response (ABR). The results were compared to a group of 111 male workers exposed to noise (above 85 dBA) and 70 male white-collar workers exposed to neither noise nor solvents. Age and noise exposure levels were accounted for as confounding variables in all statistical models.


Styrene exposure was significantly associated with poorer pure-tone thresholds (1–8 kHz), lower DPOAE amplitudes (5–6 kHz), and shorter wave V latencies in both ears compared to control-group subjects. Similar results were found among noise-exposed subjects. A further analysis with wave V latency showed that styrene-exposed subjects showed significantly shorter latencies than expected according to normative data. These results suggest that occupational exposure to styrene at moderate concentrations is associated with cochlear dysfunction, at least at high frequencies. DPOAEs may be considered a valuable diagnostic tool in hearing conservation programs in workers exposed to styrene.

Klíčová slova:

Audiology – Deafness – Ears – Hearing – Noise reduction – Plastics – Public and occupational health – Social systems


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