Firefighters at risk of hearing loss due to loud sirens

Apr 23, 2013 in Hearing Protection

Firefighters at risk of hearing loss due to loud sirens

Research in the US has suggested that firefighters all over the world are at a great risk of losing their hearing over time due to the unavoidable but loud sirens.

Studies into the field have found that noise-induced hearing loss is common among firefighters. This follows other research in 2007, where a study by University of California professor Oisaeng Hong suggested that 40 per cent of all firefighters were at risk of losing their hearing, and dubbing sirens as a major occupational hazard that many companies do not consider.

According to Trib Live, Dr. Catherine V Palmer, director of audiology and hearing aids in the department of otolaryngology at the University of Pittsburgh, said: “The damage is invisible. It's internal to your ear. It's permanent damage, and it's generally gradual.”

Experts have suggested that ear protection is vital for those working in fire stations. Due to sirens ringing at a high frequencies, those working in emergency services need to make sure that they prevent hearing loss by hearing ear plugs or taking regular breaks from noisy environments. Even though hearing loss is both incurable and irreversible, it can be prevented through various methods.

This report comes in conjunction with four firefighters in Pittsburgh filing a lawsuit against various siren and firetruck manufacturing companies, blaming their products for their hearing loss. There has been a variety of similar legal cases in this field in recent years, and scientists in the UK have argued that the same preventative measures should apply, regardless of what country you live in.

If you work in the emergency services and are worried about the quality of your hearing, be sure to visit your local doctor as soon as possible.