1. #1
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    Unhappy want to become a firefighter/parramedic but I can't.

    Im a fire explorer in tennessee. firefighting has been in my family for years, my dad is an engineer in a dept., my grandfather was a firefighter, my great uncle was one, and one of my 2nd cousins was one. I have grown up loving that job and I loved going to see my dad at the firehouse, so I could see the trucks. Well through out my life, I have had a huge amount of hearing loss and I have to wear a hering aid now. Well since I have hering loss, when I try to take someones vital signs, I can't hear the heartbeat. So that would prevent me from being a paramedic and a firefighter because the hearing aid would melt in the fire. Well I love being an explorer and that will probably be as close as I get to being a full time firefighter. Unless they came out with some new technology to fix my hearing by the time I get out of college, which im 14 now. I just want to be part of the brotherhood. If some of you vetern firefighters could give me some advice or if you know any place I could get some research on some other people with the same problem, it would help alot.
    Thanks,
    Fire Explorer Beau Doss
    Franklin Fire Dept.
    Explorer Post #478

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    Quote Originally Posted by explorer478 View Post
    Im a fire explorer in tennessee. firefighting has been in my family for years, my dad is an engineer in a dept., my grandfather was a firefighter, my great uncle was one, and one of my 2nd cousins was one. I have grown up loving that job and I loved going to see my dad at the firehouse, so I could see the trucks. Well through out my life, I have had a huge amount of hearing loss and I have to wear a hering aid now. Well since I have hering loss, when I try to take someones vital signs, I can't hear the heartbeat. So that would prevent me from being a paramedic and a firefighter because the hearing aid would melt in the fire. Well I love being an explorer and that will probably be as close as I get to being a full time firefighter. Unless they came out with some new technology to fix my hearing by the time I get out of college, which im 14 now. I just want to be part of the brotherhood. If some of you vetern firefighters could give me some advice or if you know any place I could get some research on some other people with the same problem, it would help alot.
    Thanks,
    Fire Explorer Beau Doss
    Franklin Fire Dept.
    Explorer Post #478
    First of all, don't give up so fast. I don't know just how much hearing loss you actually have, but there may still be hope.

    You do need to be able to hear to be a medic and a FF, but are you sure you would not pass a department physical? No. Because you have not had one yet.

    Also, if your hearing aid melts in a fire, it will be the absolute least of your worries, as the skin on your body will be falling off in sheets and you will no longer have any hair on your head.
    Fires are hot, and we do take a lot of heat when we fight them, but it would be a very rare (and a very dangerous) occasion indeed, for it to be so hot inside as to melt a hearing aid.

    Also, are you aware of electronically amplified stethoscopes? They increase sound to a level that may well allow you to hear lung sounds and heart tones even without your hearing aid. There may also be special ear buds for standard steths that can accommodate people with hearing aids.

    All is not lost until all avenues have been explored, and all options exhausted.
    Fire Lieutenant/E.M.T.
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    I worked with a Paramedic who was almost deaf. When I first started working with her, she had a standard stethoscope without the ear cushions. I don't know the details, and am not in contact with her anymore, but the bare ends of the scope fit right on to her hearing aids and she was able to use it. Later, she got new hearing aids that were compatible with an electronic scope that I believe transmitted sound directly to the hearing aids. She actually knew a Medic who was deaf but still managed to practice using other means. Said she was about to assess a patient better than most hearing medics.

    Anyway, don't give up on your dream. Talk to your doctors and see what they say. If that doesn't work, seek out other people in the business with the same problem, I guarantee they are out there.

    Good luck with your search.

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    There was a recent thread on this that everyone may find interesting. I know I did. There are many points mentioned by all, but NeilMcD speaks very well on how he has overcome the same challenges, and how he works within his department. Check it out.

    http://forums.firehouse.com/showthread.php?t=96350&

    The tests required of career departments may hold you back, but many volunteer departments will take any and all. Find a volly department that is willing to work as hard to get you in and use your talents, as you are willing to work for them. Best of luck to you.

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    If you suit up properly, your protective hood and the protective ear flaps on your helmet will keep your hearing aid safe from heat, unless it get's really hot. I mean, it has to be really hot. I got the edges of my ears burned once in a fire, even with my hood and ear flaps being utilized properly, so there are no guarantees.

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    thanks guys for the advice. I still want to get on with a fire dept. What should I say to the dept heads about wearing a hering aid? do i ask them to give me a chance and explain to them wat i can and can't do on the fireground?

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    Quote Originally Posted by explorer478 View Post
    thanks guys for the advice. I still want to get on with a fire dept. What should I say to the dept heads about wearing a hering aid? do i ask them to give me a chance and explain to them wat i can and can't do on the fireground?
    Just be honest, tell them what you can and can't do, and say you will try as hard as you can to do the things you can't.

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    As Ticonderoga said, know your limitations; know what you can and can't do. It's taken me a long time to realize that nothing is impossible, so don't ever give up. Good luck!

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    I'm not sure of all the legal aspects, but I know enough about the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) to know that employers are not allowed to discriminate against anyone for an actual or perceived disability without objective testing.

    They can only disqualify someone if they are tested and proven unable to perform the tasks required for employment.

    What that SHOULD mean is that they need to give you the chance to test for the department. So focus on your skills and develop coping mechanisms.

    The same argument was made for women in the fire service. Just because there was a perception that women might not be as strong, that didn't mean that they were not capable of handling the job... and a couple of the best firefighters I know are women.

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    I dont have the best of hearing (thanks to the Air Force) LOL
    But i did pass the hearing test. (actually some cities i tested for didnt give one) I.E. Cleveland. Im not sure what advise to give you but i'll say this:
    Dont ever give up. Take tests and do your best to get on a Professional Dept.
    Dont EVER give up.
    Keep on trying and keep on working on it.
    There is NOTHING in this Nation that cant be acheived.
    I wish you well.

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