Hearing losses occur in firefighters during the early stages of their careers.

On a mean time of 4.1 years, there was deterioration in right and left ears, with the hearing loss in 8% of right and 13% of left ears falling into the 'warning' or 'referral' categories. Most research on firefighter hearing loss has concentrated on effects over a substantial part of, or entire, firefighting career. In this study, 118 firefighters in their early careers were examined for an LGV (large goods vehicle) licence. Mean time between examinations was 4.1 years (range 1.4-12.6 years). The differences in their hearing capacity showed statistical significance . Further work needs to be done to establish if this continues, and steps taken to reduce the noise hazard at work.

Source: Hearing losses in whole time firefighters occurring early in their careers. Ide CW. Occup Med (Lond). 2011 Jun 6. [Epub ahead of print]http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21652572

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