Citing concerns over possible hearing loss for officers and civilians alike, the Spokane (WA) Police Department is putting suppressors on all of its 181 patrol rifles, according to the Spokesman-Review.
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration says that exposure to sound greater than 140 decibels can create risk for irreparable hearing damage. The unsuppressed shot from an SPD patrol rifle can be about 152 decibels, Major Eric Olsen told the City Council.
Major Olsen said that buying the suppressors—in a contract valued at $115,000—would ultimately save the city money by avoiding having to pay for devices like hearing aids and batteries if a worker’s compensation claim is upheld. Five officers in the police department have filed claims with the Washington Department of Labor and Industries for hearing loss as a result of gunfire, the Spokesman-Review article said.