Noise/Hearing Loss during flight operations

January 22, 2018

Noise/Hearing Loss during flight operation

According to the CDC Occupational hearing loss is one of the most common work-related injuries in the United States. There are many sources of noise during flight operations.

Some of the sources of aircraft noise?

  • On the ground, aircraft engines, takeoff preparations, and braking are sources of noise on aircraft.
  • When airborne, the aircraft engines and high speed turbulence over the fuselage are the largest sources of noise on aircraft. Announcements and mechanical noises from food and beverage service are other sources of noise.
  • Hearing protection, especially during takeoff and landing, is one option for reducing these exposures.

Below we have included an Article on Commercial Aviation:

Pilots’ and Flight Attendants’ Exposure to Noise aboard Aircraft addressing the noise and noise levels that happen at different times of exposure. 

Airline pilots and flight attendants, working in the cockpit and cabin, are exposed to noise as a routine part of their jobs. This noise may come from aircraft engines during takeoff and landing or from high-speed air flow over the fuselage during flight. Exposure to elevated noise levels can cause permanent changes in hearing, diminished ability to communicate, and non-auditory effects such as fatigue. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which sets and enforces standards related to working conditions,1 established a noise exposure standard that requires employers to take certain actions when an employee’s noise exposure reaches a level deemed to be unsafe.2 The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) assumed responsibility for the safety and health aspects of cockpit and cabin crewmember working environments in1975,3 but in 2013, FAA announced in a policy statement that OSHA would have authority to enforce its occupational noise exposure standard in the cabins of aircraft in operation, where flight attendants work.

Airline Noise Sources

You asked us to provide information on noise levels experienced by crewmembers on commercial service aircraft and their access to hearing protection.

We examined:

(1) what is known about aircraft cabin and cockpit noise levels compared with occupational noise exposurestandards and (2) selected airlines’ policies on hearing protection for crewmembers. To address these objectives, we reviewed FAA’s regulations and guidance pertaining to interior aircraft noise, the occupational noise exposure standard from OSHA, and the recommended occupational noise exposure limit from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health(NIOSH).

Results in Brief

While information on aircraft noise is limited, the studies and data we reviewed suggest that aircraft cabin and cockpit noise levels likely do not exceed the OSHA standard. Of the 10 studies that we reviewed, none found noise levels that clearly exceeded this standard. FAA and OSHA have received few complaints from crewmembers related to aircraft noise levels. For example, crewmembers submitted two complaints about ambient aircraft noise levels to OSHA since the FAA policy statement was issued in 2013, and no reports related to aircraft noise were submitted to FAA’s safety and oversight-related databases in the last 5 years.

Airlines and aircraft manufacturers that we interviewed told us that noise measurements taken in their aircraft are below the OSHA standard. However, officials from labor groups representing pilots and flight attendants told us that while noise levels likely do not exceed the OSHA standard, they believe crewmembers nonetheless are sometimes exposed to unsafe levels of noise that could result in hearing loss or fatigue.

Officials from all eight of the airlines we spoke with said that they allow pilots to wear hearing protection equipment, such as noise-reducing headsets, and officials from five of these airlines said they allow flight attendants to wear earplugs, in aircraft in operation. According to officials from three of the crewmember labor groups we interviewed, use of this equipment appears to be limited. Officials from the pilot labor groups we spoke with said noise-reducing headsets can be expensive or uncomfortable, and some models are not compatible with some aircraft communications systems.We are not making any recommendations in this report.

Click here to Read Full Article. 

The Top 6 Noisiest Jobs: Hearing Loss by Occupation

August 9, 2012

db-blocker-3I was recently perusing the ISHN Facebook fan page and saw this article posted. It is a very interesting article, something definitely worth sharing since one of the most forgotten senses is hearing. As individuals we tend to take our hearing for granted, until it is too late. In a noisy world full of sound devices, traffic & construction, congestion and especially  noise in our workplaces it is important to be cognoscente of the potential harm we could be doing to our hearing.  enjoy the read. Hearing Protection

Hearing Loss by Occupation

Is your job causing hearing loss? Your hearing is an incredibly valuable asset in the workplace. Unfortunately, some workplace environments may be more damaging to your eardrums than others. The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that 22 million US workers are exposed to potentially dangerous levels of noise in the workplace each year. Unhealthy noise levels are one of the most common causes of hearing loss, and can lead to shocking statistics in some occupations. If you work in one of these six loudest workplaces, you may want to consider the effects your work environment may be having on your hearing.

Hearing Loss in Manufacturing

Hearing loss is the most commonly recorded occupational illness in manufacturing, accounting for 1 in 9 recordable illnesses. The reasons behind these staggering numbers are obvious, with all the large and loud machinery in this line of business. And this problem is all over the nation. Manufacturing is one of the largest industries in the U.S., which means hearing loss can spread rapidly. In fact, a study in Michigan reveals that more than half of all cases of permanent workplace hearing loss is caused by the manufacturing sector. Learn about Personalized Hearing Protection for Manufacturing Companies.

Hearing Loss in Construction, Carpentry and Mining

Hearing loss in the workplace

Whether outside your window, on your walk to work or anywhere else on the street, you may be painfully familiar with the extreme noise levels of construction sites. Now imagine working there. For the country’s construction workers, these sounds can be particularly hazardous to hearing health. Long periods of exposure to noise over 85dB is considered dangerous to one’s hearing, yet many of the most common construction tools make noise well above this cautionary value. Let’s consider one the noisiest yet most common construction tools: the hammer drill. This ear-shattering tool registers at nearly 115dB. With these dangerous decibels, whether you are performing construction work at home or for pay, make sure to wear the right kind of ear protection. Learn more about the Industry.  Now Available: SMART MUFFS for double hearing protection

Miners and carpenters are particularly affected due to a similarly noisy tool set, as the next couple of graphs can attest.

Construction Noise lossMany common carpentry tools can be hazardous to your ear health. 

Hearing Loss as a Motorcycle Courier

Traveling on a motorbike beyond 50mph, can expose the driver to up to 90dB of noise under the helmet. The maximum recommended exposure limit at this level is 2.5-3 hours at a time. While slow city traffic might be more manageable, it’s more the day-in/day-out exposure, as well as longer travels on open roads that do the damage. Courier or no courier, all bikers can be affected. Learn how bikers can protect their hearing. 

Hearing Loss in Entertainment and Nightlife

All that hubbub can hurt your ears. Loud music is one of the most common causes of hearing loss. Employees at bars, nightclubs, or concert hallsmight be enduring dangerous sound levels every night of the week.Most nightlife hotspots operate at levels well above 100 dB, which means the mood music may be doing some mega damage. Bartenders, performers, and security should all be well aware of these dangers, and seek out special earplugs specifically made for musicians. This also goes for rock stars. There  are available hearing protection for individuals and musicians.

Hearing Loss for Airport staff

If you have ever taken a look at an airport runway, you may notice the brightly colored ear protection worn by airport traffic directors. These are not just a fashion statement, but indeed a necessary precaution. The sound of a jet engine is one of the loudest auditory occupational hazards, with sound levels at a shocking 140dB. Sound waves are invisible, but at this level, they pack a whopping force. You can find the appropriate hearing protection for Airport and Security staff. 

Hearing Loss for Shooting Range Marshals

Guns and other firearms are loud, ask any military veteran. Shooting range marshals, if not carefully protected with heavy duty on-ear protectors or custom made ear plugs, can be exposed to up to 140dB of noise exposure during any given day. One more reason to think twice about that next excursion to the shooting range or hunting trip.

Fortunately, there are many preventative measures in order to mitigate the effects of workplace-induced hearing loss. Appropriate ear protection, in addition to the right diet, can keep your hearing health top-notch. And as always, Audicus is here to keep your hearing at its very highest…. and discreetest. Learn More hearing loss in the Shooting industry. 

Article by  Patrick Freuler. Read original article here. 


Hearing Loss in the Aviation Industry

May 11, 2012

dB Blocker™ Discreet VentedEffects of Noise Exposure

On their website, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) publishes a detailed brochure about hearing and noise in aviation occupations. It explains how the ear works, general types of noise and the effects of noise exposure, both in everyday activities and in the aviation industry in particular.

Written specifically for pilots, the FAA explains that hazardous noise occurs not only on the ground but also in the air. We would expect aircraft equipment, jet efflux, propellers, and rotors to cause noise induced hearing loss, but cabin conditioning and pressurization systems also give off noise that can cause hearing loss with prolonged exposure. Cockpit or cabin noise can be so loud that pilots have to shout to be heard. Over time, even cockpit noise can cause hearing impairment.

How can pilots and other aviation workers protect themselves from noise induced hearing loss?

The FAA recommends limiting the duration of exposure to noise, but also recommends insertable-type earplugs. The FAA’s brochure states, “To be effective, earplugs must be inserted properly to create an air-tight seal in the air canal.” Custom Protect Ear’s dB Blockers™ are made to fit the individual’s ear exactly. It’s made of medical grade silicones that are soft and flexible, creating a comfortable, custom fit.

In fact, it’s no secret that we help aviation employees protect themselves from long term hearing loss. Some of our customers are big names in the aviation industry like WestJet, Air Canada, Lockheed Martin, and Boeing. Passengers can also protect themselves from the effects of prolonged exposure to noise when flying across the country. dB Blockers worn on such flights allow those wearing them to arrive much more refreshed and less tired. If you or someone you know works in the aviation industry, share the FAA brochure with them and tell them about CPE’s custom ear protection. We are here to help.