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Fighting Fires and Hearing Loss

Urgent need for hearing prevention programs, according to an American study.

Exposure to high levels of noise is common for firefighters. Daily work in the fire services includes being surrounded by noise from fire sirens, alarms, communication devices, audio equipment in cabs, engine pumps, rotary and chain saws and ventilation fans. firefighters

An American study of 425 American firefighters shows that more than 40% have signs of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) as a result of their line of work. In addition, reported use of hearing protection devices (HPDs) was only 34%.

Effective hearing loss prevention programs, better work practices and HPDs like ear muffs and ear plugs, should therefore be implemented to reduce NIHL in firefighters.

Longer exposure, worse hearing. Firefighters are exposed to harmful sources of noise in their line of work. Such exposure to high noise levels may contribute to hearing problems, like NIHL.

According to the American survey, firefighters with longer years of work in fire services demonstrate significantly worse hearing. Also, firefighters who used HPDs less were more likely to experience hearing loss.2608

Hearing protection devices (HPDs). With firefighters being exposed to harmful noise levels, they risk damaging their hearing and the risk of NIHL is severely increased.

To prevent hearing impairment among firefighters, it is recommended that effective hearing loss prevention programs are implemented as well as better work practices. Also, firefighters are urged to make better use of HPDs to ensure better hearing health.

About the study. The study was published in the medical journal “Journal of Occupational & Environmental Medicine’. 425 American firefighters from three states across the United States participated in the study, which was carried out by Dr. OiSaeng Hong, from the University of California.

Source: National Institute of Health

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About Adam Bernstein

Adam Bernstein is the owner of The Hearing Professionals, Milwaukee's premier hearing healthcare facility. As the owner of The Hearing Professionals, Mr. Bernstein has over 20 years of experience in the hearing healthcare industry. He began his career in 1995 at GN Danavox, one of the largest hearing aid manufacturers in the world. After leaving Danavox, Mr. Bernstein opened two hearing healthcare offices in Chicago, IL. In 2001 he moved to Milwaukee, WI and opened The Hearing Professionals. In 2008 he added a second Wisconsin office in the town of Brookfield. Today The Hearing Professionals is the largest private audiology practice in SE Wisconsin. Mr. Bernstein has written numerous articles on hearing healthcare which has appeared in newspapers throughout the country and has been interviewed by news programs regarding advances in the hearing industry. Mr. Bernstein a member of Unitron’s Customer Advisory Board and a graduate of The University of Minnesota. You can email him at and you can visit The Hearing Professionals at

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