Hearing loss among police officers and military people who use weapons in their line of work is common. It can come from exposure to loud noises which destroy the delicate hair cells of the inner ear. Today there are proven ways to compensate for this deficit through the use of sophisticated hearing technologies. So why would any NYPD officer be banned from using a hearing aid while serving?
For years NYPD required that those applying to be a police officer pass a hearing test without the use of hearing aids. This rule (which is still in effect) has kept qualified candidates, such as former military, from being able to work for the NYPD. This discrimination didn’t just impact those applying for a job, but even those who are already on the job. Police officers who worked in the NYPD were forced to retire or leave if it was known they required a hearing aid, which many do since it is a common occupational hazard. The city does not test the hearing of officers already working, so as long as they do not use hearing aids they will not be found out and forced to retire.
The reasons given by officials for the ban on hearing aids was that they can be knocked off during a scuffle. However, this reason makes little sense since eyeglasses, which are permitted, can also be knocked off. A case was brought against the city’s hearing aid ban which ended with a settlement that lifted the ban on hearing aids.
The easing of restrictions on the use of hearing aids will not only benefit those who brought the case, but the many police officers who have admitted to hearing loss or the need for hearing aids, but would not use them while on duty. This hearing aid rule still applies to candidates trying to become NYPD officers, as this rule requires candidates to pass a hearing test without the use of a hearing aid, although it too is being challenged.
If you receive a NYPD Disqualification please contact me at 516-248-0040 and we can arrange for a free phone or in-office consultation.
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