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Hearing Loss and Use of Hearing Protection Among Career Firefighters in the United States

Hong, OiSaeng RN, PhD, FAAN; Chin, Dal Lae RN, PhD; Samo, Daniel G. MD, FACOEM


In a recently published article by Hong et al,1 there were two errors related to the acronym PASS:

The authors apologize for the errors.

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine. 55(11):1364, November 2013.

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: August 2013 - Volume 55 - Issue 8 - p 960–965
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0b013e318293aee0
Original Articles

Objective: To determine the prevalence and characteristics of noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL) and the use of hearing protection devices (HPDs) among career firefighters.

Methods: A Web-based survey and a standard audiometric test were performed with 425 firefighters from three states in the United States.

Results: More than 40% showed hearing loss in the noise-sensitive frequencies (4 and 6 kHz). The left ear showed significantly poorer hearing than the right ear. Firefighters having longer years of work in fire services demonstrated significantly worse hearing. Reported use of HPDs was 34% of the time that was needed. Firefighters who used HPDs less were significantly more likely to have hearing loss.

Conclusions: This study demonstrated a considerable NIHL problem and low use of HPDs in firefighters. More comprehensive hearing conservation programs should be implemented to reduce NIHL for firefighters.

From the School of Nursing, University of California San Francisco (Drs Hong and Chin), and Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine and Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Chicago, Ill (Dr Samo).

Address correspondence to: OiSaeng Hong, PhD, RN, FAAN, Occupational and Environmental Health Nursing Graduate Program, School of Nursing, University of California, San Francisco, 2 Koret Way, Room N 531D, San Francisco, CA 94143 (

The authors report no conflicts of interest. The authors alone are responsible for the content and writing of the paper.

Funded by the US Department of Homeland Security, Federal Emergency Management Administration Assistance to Firefighters Grant (grant EMW-2007-FP-00785, PI: Hong).

Copyright © 2013 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine