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Promoting hearing health among fire fighters.

Kardous CA; Afanuh S
Cincinnati, OH: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-142, 2013 May; :1-4
Exposure to high noise levels among fire fighters is well documented and increases the risk for noise-induced hearing loss. NIOSH recommends measures to promote better hearing health through the use of quieter equipment, better work practices, hearing protection devices, and implementation of effective hearing loss prevention programs. More than 1.1 million fire fighters work in the United States (330,000 career fire fighters and 800,000 volunteer fire fighters) [BLS 2011; NFPA 2010]. Firefighters are exposed to many hazards as part of their job, including noise. The main sources of noise are fire sirens, alarms, communication devices, audio equipment in cabs, engine pumps, rotary and chain saws, ventilation fans, and pneumatic tools used in emergency ventilation and extrication (see Table 1). In addition, fire fighters are also exposed to chemicals and combustion by-products that may have ototoxic effects and exacerbate the onset of hearing loss [Lees 1995; Morata 2003]. Such activities often result in fire fighters being exposed to noise that exceeds occupational exposure limits [Neitzel 2012; Tubbs 1991]. Fire fighters who are repeatedly exposed to high noise levels risk developing work-related hearing loss [Ide 2011; Kales et al. 2001; Tubbs 1991].
Hearing; Hearing-conservation; Noise-analysis; Noise-control; Noise-exposure; Noise-induced-hearing-loss; Noise; Noise-levels; Impulse-noise; Hearing-impairment; Hearing-protection; Fire-fighters; Fire-fighting-equipment; Worker-health; Work-environment; Employee-exposure; Warning-devices; Communication-systems; Emergency-responders; Emergency-equipment; Exposure-assessment; Exposure-levels; Exposure-limits; Sound; Sound-attenuation; Signal-devices; Engineering-controls; Administration; Auditory-system; Safety-education; Training; Ear-protection; Personal-protective-equipment
Publication Date
Document Type
Numbered Publication; Workplace Solutions
Fiscal Year
NTIS Accession No.
NTIS Price
Identifying No.
DHHS (NIOSH) Publication No. 2013-142; B20130520
NIOSH Division
Priority Area
Construction; Manufacturing
Source Name
National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health
Page last reviewed: April 1, 2022
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division