Thursday, 27 November 2014

The importance of hearing protection in aviation

Image courtesy Restored Hearing 

Guest post by Chrissy Hughes Community Manager Restored Hearing.

Airplanes are noisy and this is a source of irritation, and sometimes hearing impairments like tinnitus, for passengers. But what about those flying the planes and those working with aircraft day in and day out?.

A jet engine, during take off, can reach 120dB. That means you can stand beside it for a grand total of 7 seconds before your ears are permanently damaged. That’s not a lot of time so those who fly and work with aircraft are at a much higher risk of getting conditions like tinnitus, or ringing in the ears, and hearing loss from their exposure to noise.

In our work with Restored Hearing we talk to lot of tinnitus sufferers and a significant portion of them are pilots or ex-pilots, either civilian or military. In fact, studies have shown that the prevalence of tinnitus is higher in the flying population. Tinnitus occurs in around 10% of the general population, while that figure goes up to 18% when aircraft operators are considered.

The best way for pilots and ground staff to prevent hearing loss and tinnitus from noise and flying is to wear hearing protection. While almost always provided by employers, how many times have you seen an airfield without a pair of ear defenders in sight? I thought so.

Image courtesy Restored Hearing 

Existing hearing protection isn't fit for purpose as airfields are variable noise environments and communication between staff needs to occur intermittently. We've responded to this problem by creating Sound Bounce. It does the job of electronic noise cancelling headphones, but without any of the electronics.

Sound Bounce uses a smart material that absorbs sound 8 times better than existing foam ear defenders. It’s durable, inexpensive and allows for communication and protection all while wearing one headset. Pilots and those who work with and around aircraft are the ideal end users for Sound Bounce, which will be released in Spring 2015.

If you or your employer is interested in being some of the first to try it out get in touch on

Visit Restored Hearing website.

Irish Aviation Research Institute © 27th November 2014 All Rights Reserved.

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