Fire fighters risk their hearing

Being a fire fighter is a high-risk job for more reasons than just the immediate daily dangers. Fire fighters' hearing and general health are also at risk.

A study on the general health of the fire brigade in Madrid showed that among the 3,300 fire fighters, hearing loss is the second most common work related injury following injuries from toxic chemical products exposure.

The prevalence of hearing loss among fire fighters was found to be 32.8 percent, a much higher percentage than the prevalence in the general population. Fire fighters' reduced hearing is mainly caused by noise exposure from sirens, machinery and other tools.

Their general health is also at risk. Fire fighters visit the family doctor 67 percent more than the general population. Work related injuries are the reason in 88 percent of visits, in comparison with 23 percent for the general work force.

About the study

The scientific study was conducted jointly by a fire fighters' association, trade unions and other institutions.

Source:, 23 October, 2006.

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