NIOSH: Protect firefighters from noise-induced hearing loss

Washington – A new NIOSH publication (.pdf file) warns of the dangers of noise-induced hearing loss among firefighters.

Agency studies have found hearing loss and tinnitus (ringing in the ears) among firefighters can be caused by loud noise such as sirens, alarms, engine pumps, chain saws, ventilation fans and pneumatic tools used in emergency extrication.

To help protect firefighters, NIOSH recommends:

  • Use engineering and administrative controls to reduce noise exposure from equipment.
  • Train firefighters on harmful noise levels and hearing loss.
  • Provide individualized training on hearing protection devices.
  • Fit-test hearing protection.

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