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Journal Article


Savolainen S, Lehtomäki KM. Scand. Audiol. 1997; 26(2): 122-126.


Department of Otolaryngology, Central Military Hospital, Helsinki, Finland.


(Copyright © 1997, Nordisk Audiologisk Selskab)






This prospective study of acute acoustic trauma (AAT) from exposure to impulse noise during compulsory military service focused on three issues the number of shot or explosion impulses that the conscript was exposed to at the time of AAT, distance of injured ear from causal firearm, and the circumstances under which AAT occurred protected ears. The series includes 449 consecutive, verified cases of AAT seen at the Central Military Hospital in Helsinki, Finland, in the period 1989-1993. AAT usually occurred during combat training (87%) as a result of exposure to impulses from small arms (83%). In 41%. AAT was caused by a single shot or detonation impulse. As many as 92% of all AATs occurred within 2 m of the causal firearm. Fourteen percent were wearing hearing protectors when the accident took place, but every third had badly fitting protectors or had neglected safety regulations and used insufficient protection. Of all AATs caused by one noise impulse in protected ears. 83% were attributable to heavy arms and only 14% to small arms. The results of the study suggest that combined use of earmuffs and earplugs in association with a safe distance of over 5 m from the noise source gives adequate protection against AAT. However, for conscripts using certain heavy arms e.g. hazooka. more effective hearing protection should be developed.

Language: en


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