Hearing Aid for operational Police Officer

I am Chair of West Mercia Police disAbility Network - I have been made aware of an officer who has had some hearing loss to the extent that he now requires hearing aids that only amplify a specific frequency. This is sent via a small tube into his ear from a small box situated behind their ear.

The officer has been told that they cannot wear this hearing aid when operational due to where the amplifier is situated behind the ear, this is because of risk if he suffered a blow to that area.

The officer has been advised that the force will supply an in ear amplifier, which will amplify the whole frequency range, but the officer does not want their whole hearing to be changed as they have got good hearing apart from the specific frequency.

Is any one aware of such issues or has anyone come up with a solution.

Thanks in advance

Dave Braid
  • How very strange to find that you are source of so much debate! As I believe I am the serving police officer subject of this particular discussion, I think I probably need to add a little clarity and explain my circumstances.
    Like the officer that submitted the last posting, I have been issued with two Oticon Spirit Zest, BTE, open-fit hearing aids, due to low frequency bi-lateral hearing loss. I understand that this is something I have inherited and has become problematic as I have got a little (!) older.
    Although I have been a police officer for twenty-one years, I first became aware of real problems with my hearing about two and a half years ago, mainly with hearing my personal radio but also with some conversations. Moreover, I had increasing difficulty in listening to direct speech and radio transmissions simultaneously.
    After insisting upon a referral to my local Audiology Department with my GP (a battle in itself) I was subsequently prescribed the aids and drew the matter to the attention of the Occupational Health Department. This has proved to be an immensely frustrating experience, to say the very least!
    In short, I have unwittingly fallen headlong into the ‘to difficult’ box. I have always been a uniformed operational officer and that is all I wanted to carry on doing. Therein hangs the problem.
    It has taken over a year for Occupational Health to permit me to wear my aids operationally because of the ‘risks’ outlined previously. I was then able to effectively trial a number of gizmos in an operational environment that had been supplied to me by our Radio Workshops. These devices included some different earpieces and a hearing loop.
    This ‘trial’ has, unfortunately, led me almost back to square one.
    My aids were programmed for allow use of the hearing / inductive loop on its own or together with amplified sound. Using the various possible settings and combinations has, however, proved to be a most unpleasant experience.
    For starters, the hearing loop picked up all sorts of interference from windscreen wipers and fans in cars, to a wide variety of electronic and electrical equipment that included fluorescent lighting! I tried using both aids and a single aid with just the loop as well as both loop and amplified together but it was either very disorientating and imbalanced, or wholly and negatively overwhelming. I found it impossible to obtain a happy medium between the radio / loop input and the amplified sound.
    None of the earpieces supplied really helped with the clarity of the radio output as I could not wear both aid and earpiece at the same time. Just for those that don’t know, use of earpieces is now compulsory due to the sensitive nature of police radio traffic.
    My real worry is that one day I will miss something on the radio when one of my colleagues really needs back-up which is, personally and professionally, completely unacceptable.
    I just need to be able to hear my radio clearly and what people are saying so I can just get on and do my job. If anyone has any suggestions, then please let me know. I don’t want to be confined to an office.
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