Audiological findings in individuals exposed to organic solvents: case studies

Noise Health. Jul-Sep 2008;10(40):74-82. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.44345.


Millions of people around the world are exposed to industrial organic solvents such as toluene and xylene in the manufacturing sectors. Solvents are neurotoxic substances that are detrimental to the functioning of the nervous system, including the central auditory nervous system (CANS). This study investigated hearing and auditory processing in seven individuals with a history of exposure to industrial solvents. A battery of audiological tests was administered to all subjects: pure tone, speech, and impedance audiometry, otoacoustic emissions tests, auditory brainstem responses, middle latency responses, as well as the SCAN-A and R-SPIN tests with low predictability sentence lists. All individuals in this study exhibited findings consistent with retrocochlear and/or central abnormality. Two of the seven subjects in this study had normal pure tone thresholds at all frequencies bilaterally, yet showed abnormal retrocochlear/central results on one or more tests. The auditory test battery approach used in this study appears to be valuable in evaluating the pathological conditions of the CANS in solvent-exposed individuals.

Publication types

  • Case Reports
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Audiometry / methods*
  • Central Nervous System / drug effects
  • Female
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / chemically induced
  • Hearing Loss, Noise-Induced / diagnosis
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / chemically induced*
  • Hearing Loss, Sensorineural / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Noise, Occupational / adverse effects
  • Occupational Diseases / chemically induced*
  • Occupational Diseases / diagnosis
  • Occupational Exposure / adverse effects
  • Solvents / poisoning*
  • Tinnitus / chemically induced
  • Tinnitus / diagnosis
  • Toluene / poisoning
  • Xylenes / poisoning


  • Solvents
  • Xylenes
  • Toluene