Sounding the Alarm

In Greek mythology, sirens lured unwitting sailors to their doom. In real life, however, brave men and women follow sirens, knowing full well that danger may lie ahead. But there’s another risk they might not be considering, even if they hear it all the time.

Firefighters, police officers and emergency responders risk hearing loss through frequent exposure to sirens, which can reach 109 decibels. That’s more than 500 percent of the acceptable level for noise exposure!

This Illinois court case sheds some light on the problem. The case grew from 700 Chicago firefighters to include 200 departments across 16 states, proving that this isn’t an isolated issue.

Although we depend on emergency sirens to help save lives, firefighter, police officers and other emergency workers need to be aware of the risk to their hearing. After all, when we’re counting on them to save us, they depend on their hearing to get the job done.