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Time-weighted averages and fire fighter hearing loss.
Update: The Newsletter of the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation 2004 Jun; 16(2):4, 10
Fire fighting in the United States has many scenarios that involve high levels of noise exposure including sirens, diesel engines, air horns, power saws, and power ventilators. While these noises are intermittent and often unpredictable, it seems intuitive that personal exposure monitoring using noise dosimeters should indicate exposures that are quite high. However, most noise evaluations at fire departments (Tubbs 1995) report 8-hr time-weighted averages (TWAs) much less than the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's (OSHA) permissible exposure limit (PEL) of 90 dBA (CPR 2003). For many evaluations, once noise has been measured at levels that do not exceed OSHA regulations, then nothing further is done. If city government decision makers had used only the noise data, then hearing conservation programs for fire fighters would never have happened. Thankfully, they did wait for the other set of data on fire fighter hearing loss before making these decisions and, today, hearing conservation programs are found in many departments.
Fire-fighters; Emergency-responders; Hearing-loss; Noise; Noise-exposure; Noise-measurement; Noise-induced-hearing-loss
Issue of Publication
Update: The Newsletter of the Council for Accreditation in Occupational Hearing Conservation
Page last reviewed: September 2, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division