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Original Paper

Hearing Loss and Heavy Metal Toxicity in a Nicaraguan Mining Community: Audiological Results and Case Reports

Saunders J.E.a · Jastrzembski B.G.c · Buckey J.C.b · Enriquez D.d · MacKenzie T.A.b · Karagas M.R.b

Author affiliations

aDartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, and bGeisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth, Lebanon, N.H., and cHarvard Medical School, Boston, Mass., USA; dLenin Fonseca Hospital, Managua, Nicaragua

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Audiol Neurotol 2013;18:101–113

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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: February 09, 2012
Accepted: October 24, 2012
Published online: December 15, 2012
Issue release date: January 2013

Number of Print Pages: 13
Number of Figures: 6
Number of Tables: 3

ISSN: 1420-3030 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9700 (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/AUD

Abstract

We measured fingernail metal levels, Békésy-type pure-tone thresholds and distortion product otoacoustic emission (DPOAE) levels in 59 subjects residing in the gold mining community of Bonanza, Nicaragua. Auditory testing revealed widespread hearing loss in the cohort. Nail metal concentrations (mercury, lead, aluminum, manganese and arsenic) far exceeded reference levels. No relationship was found between metal levels and auditory test results for the group as a whole. Statistically significant relationships were found between DPOAE response amplitudes and metal concentrations in a subgroup with less than 40 h per week of significant noise exposure; however, conclusions regarding these relationships should be tempered by the large number of analyses performed. Several young individuals with high metal levels reported neurological symptoms and had poor hearing. The data suggest that metal levels in artisanal mining communities present a significant public health problem and may affect hearing.

© 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel


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Article / Publication Details

First-Page Preview
Abstract of Original Paper

Received: February 09, 2012
Accepted: October 24, 2012
Published online: December 15, 2012
Issue release date: January 2013

Number of Print Pages: 13
Number of Figures: 6
Number of Tables: 3

ISSN: 1420-3030 (Print)
eISSN: 1421-9700 (Online)

For additional information: https://www.karger.com/AUD


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