Paramedics/Firefighters who wear Hearing Aids

Hello All~

I have a new patient needing hearing aids who works as a Paramedic and a Firefighter. He is wondering how the affect your daily duties. Are there times when you wear them and times when you cannot?

I appreciate any input!


Dr. Amy, I can’t speak to the fireman part, but I am in the emergency medicine field. For a paramedic being outside, one issue of course would be trying to keep the aids dry and sweat free which may be challenging. Paramedics actually using aids in the field would know what the best solution is, but it seems that buying an aid that at least is marketed as water resistant or using eargear type products might be helpful on hot or wet days. The biggest issue is using a stethoscope with hearing loss and I would recommend using an electronic stethoscope. I know of one person who took their aids out each time they used the stethoscope, but I found that unacceptable. I initially had a CIC in one ear that protruded out a bit and could not use the stethoscope in that ear. I bought some stethoscope ear piece adapters made for CIC aids but they did not work at all. I eventually found I can use RITE aids with an open dome and a thinklabs electronic stethoscope which I can use with the open domes. (depending on the volume of the heart or breath sounds I sometimes need to press or get the earpiece in the right position to hear properly.) Cardionics sells electronic stethoscopes with headphones on it including an EMS model and other models especially made for hearing aid users with scopes made for BTE and ITE aids which may be the best solution, but they are rather expensive and I never tried them. If my current solution stops working, in the future I may go to them. On their site they have some glowing testimonials from medics who use their product.

One more safety thought for your patient. Paramedics are frequently in contact with patients who are infected or colonized with bacteria that can cause skin infections. It is probably prudent to use a dryer with an ultraviolet bulb to decrease the chances of the aids themselves getting contaminated with those organisms and potentially causing an infection.