firefighter hearing loss article "can you hear me now"

Can You Hear Me Now? Helping Firefighters Avoid Hearing Loss


 

Just recently, we found a great article from our media partners at Fire Engineering.

It’s called “Can You Hear Me Now: Creating Controls to Avoid Hearing Loss.”

As the title implies, authors P.J. Norwood and Frank Ricci wrote about the impact of noise exposure in fires stations and the surrounding fire grounds.

Hearing loss has the potential to affect more than 1.1 million firefighters serving our communities.

Many of whom are volunteers.

“Although sirens on fire apparatus equipment are a primary source of noise, manufacturers have modified newer equipment to minimize this noise source.”

 

How USDD Can Help Firefighters Avoid Hearing Loss

Helping firefighters abate noise is much of what we do here at US Digital Designs.

USDD’s Phoenix G2 Fire Station Alerting System offers fire agencies the ability to use alerting peripherals to improve health and wellness. These help fire agencies maintain standards per the OSHA and NFPA.

For example, we offer illuminated speakers that provide ramped alerting tones as well a variety of signs with scrolling text messages. Many of our products offer that offer visual reinforcement (e.g., message signs, HDTV signage remotes, strobes and color indicator remotes). This helps firefighters avoid unnecessary audible reinforcements of the alert over loud speakers.

And, these alerting “tools” are the greatest ways we protect their health while increasing situational awareness.

Because this is such an important issue, we’ve authored a few blogs on the subject. One is called Researching Fire Station Speakers? Consider Noise Levels First. And the other is Six Ways to Optimize Firefighter Health and Wellness.

 

Now let’s get back to the article.

One thing that concerns us and the fire industry is that:

“The outcomes or impact hearing loss can have on firefighters is not insignificant; it can cost more than we understand, and it’s not just dollars to which we are referring. Hearing loss isolates people—they get frustrated or distracted when they can hear, and others are equally frustrated by their lack of hearing clearly. Family members, children, spouses, relatives, grandchildren, and the public at large are included.”

While systems like the Phoenix G2 can help stations protect their firefighters, the station and fire grounds still negatively impact hearing.

That’s in part because of chain saws, roof saws, and excessively loud headsets designed to overcome background noise can be contributing factors to hearing loss.

“The outcomes or impact hearing loss can have on firefighters is not insignificant; it can cost more than we understand, and it’s not just dollars to which we are referring. Hearing loss isolates people—they get frustrated or distracted when they can hear, and others are equally frustrated by their lack of hearing clearly. Family members, children, spouses, relatives, grandchildren, and the public at large are included.”

 

To read the full article from Fire Engineering, click here.

 

 

 

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