There’s no dispute that firefighters have one of the toughest and most dangerous jobs on the planet. Many don’t know that firefighters run the risk of damage to their hearing, among many of the dangers they face on a daily basis. Firefighters’ hearing challenges are mainly caused by noise exposure from sirens, machinery and other tools.
The statistics tell the story of how hearing loss is more of a risk for firefighters than others.
- Firefighters have been found to experience hearing loss 32.8% of the time, a much higher percentage than the prevalence in the general population. (source)
- The American Heart Association warns that individuals routinely exposed to high levels of noise face an increased risk of a heart attack. (source).
How Firefighters Can Prevent Hearing Loss
Get a baseline hearing test.
Understanding where your hearing health is right now is a good idea for all firefighters. Routine hearing check-ups can help you pick up on slight changes in your hearing before they escalate into larger problems. A good rule of thumb for firefighters is to get a check-up of their hearing yearly because they are routinely exposed to loud noises.
Use protective gear when at risk.
Protective measures to reduce noise exposure can be used, such as noise-reducing earplugs, ear canal caps and earmuffs. Noise-reducing equipment and sound-reducing barriers can be installed to further protect against hearing damage. Look to your team leaders and supervisors for instruction and support on how to use the equipment properly, and self-manage to ensure that you follow guidelines.
Address hearing loss issues as soon as they appear.
Many firefighters are reluctant to admit the appearance of early hearing loss, especially for fear that it could threaten their careers. It is important, however, that any signs of hearing loss be addressed as soon as possible for a variety of issues. Following are some important reasons why to see a doctor as soon as symptoms appear:
- Hearing is an essential part of the job of the firefighter and can cause safety issues if the firefighter is unable to hear.
- Many hearing complications do not impact the career of the firefighter if addressed early.
- Hearing loss, if left unaddressed, can lead to many other complications such as heart disease, neurological problems, stress and anxiety and much more.
Get Started with an Experienced Hearing Professional Today!
At Hearing Balance & Speech Center, we specialize in hearing healthcare services for both adults and children. When you visit us, you will experience comprehensive care from evaluations to custom hearing loss protection. We do it all and make it our mission to improve your quality of life through better hearing. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our certified hearing care professionals.