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Combined Hearing and audiogram thread

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Combined Hearing and audiogram thread

Old 11th Feb 2009, 23:43
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Left ear cracking

Hi chaps,

I've recently noticed that when I swallow, move air about up my wind pipe to the back of my throat and move my jaw / head side to side, me left ear cracks. I know about the Valsalva maneuver and swallowing generally helps equalise but the cracking seems 'odd'. Mr right ear doesn't crack at the same volume. I can hear it a bit but not as much as my left ear.

I've never really noticed it before and now I'm starting to panic! I'm soon to start training and don't want to risk it if I have something seriously wrong. I've had a couple of colds recently but don't think this is the cause as it even happens when I'm perfectly well.

There's no hearing loss and I can equalise without problems with exception to when I went diving once. I couldn't descend as quickly as other divers and had to dive at a much slower pace. When in aircraft however I'm generally fine. It usually feels a little uncomfortable when in the descent but nothing that I would consider incapcitating. Sometimes it feels a little tender but I only really notice the pain when I think about it. There certainly doesn't feel like any pressure or the sensation that I need to 'pop' the left ear. In fact I can 'pop it' on demand. Even if I don't need too due to the difference in air pressure. I think this is simply me manipulating my eustacian tubes and forcing them open so the pressure can equalises just like all pilots need to when descending.

Nothing was picked up or mentioned in my class 1 so I don't think it's serious. My worry is the fact that my left ear cracks much louder than my right.

Is this normal? Do your ears click at slightly different volumes?

I'll visit my GP if the problem persists or becomes painful but I wanted to get a general concensus of everyone else before I waste my GP's time.


Old 12th Feb 2009, 13:41
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Hoping that the moderators will allow me to mention that the course of action I first started way back in October is still serving me well. No medical interference or drugs, just a mechanical procedure for a minute or so, three or four times a day, as detailed in my previous entries.
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Old 13th Feb 2009, 19:29
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Cabin Crew Aural Standards.

Hi everyone, I have a query coming from a cabin crew perspective. I have scar tissue in my left ear from regular infections as a child (I am now 22). Recently had a n audiogram which revealed I have approx 40% loss in my left ear.

Currently flying with an airline who never asked about the problem any further though I did disclose it to them. I have never had any problems with my ears at work. At the moment looking into changing airline but my application has been put on hold by them because of this and they said I may need a hearing aid. I am awaiting an ENT appointment to see if there is anything that can be done.

I am wondering if there is a set standard for cabin crew aural requirements and if so what it is or who sets it? Or does it vary from airline to airline?

Any information anyone can give me on this would be greatly appreciated
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Old 29th Mar 2009, 00:20
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Hearing loss

I am new on this forum, so here goes.

I attended "The Who" in Brisbane last week (lots of grey ponytails and queues at the mens room...) and was amazed at the sound. Should I have been surprised! Although almost unbearably loud, it was very clear, unlike most live rock acts.

But the next day I felt poorly and I still have tinnitus 4 days later. (Townshend is pretty deaf, I gather.) As flyers or medicos who do audiograms on a regular basis, is there any anecdotal evidence of one-off big noises giving a permanent step loss in hearing? My own annual checks used to show a steady annual loss of acuity but I am not flying now so I don't get the checks.

It strikes me that if your livelihood depends on a flying medical, be mighty careful about attending rock concerts unprotected.
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Old 29th Mar 2009, 00:55
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Erm, yes. Even if you're not flying, tinnitus is tedious.

You'd have to be unlucky to get a lot of damage with one concert...I don't really know, but it sounds like the kind of place that I would pay not to go to...but, when I do get stuck with high noise levels, I'm to be seen with wet napkin bits sticking out of my ears. To hell with looking cool.

(The paper being wet, makes all the difference.)

There has been quite a bit about tinnitus on this forum, not least of all from me. My feeling is that you will have to wait and see.

Worst case, you learn to live with it. Best, it will fade with time. Up to the age of 65, I had good hearing, except where the whistle cut in at ( my measurements) 6,240cps. It fell like a stone at that point.

Be cautious about the use of antibiotics. Some seemingly can make it worse, or even cause it. Tetracycline I believe is the worst offender.
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Old 29th Mar 2009, 03:32
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There are many factors that contribute to Tinnitus, colds and ear infactions been common ones and after a gig, well that depends on where abouts you was stood. If it hasn't gone in a week or so go to the doctors.
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Old 29th Mar 2009, 07:47
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The obvious answer is to use some sort of ear defender, whether ear plugs or the "headphone" variety which I always wear at air shows.

I've had a hearing loss most of my life which the medics attributed to shooting when I was an ATC cadet - no ear defenders in those days.
Old 29th Mar 2009, 08:08
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Here's one for ya James. I work for the sound company that is touring with The Who, while I finish my flight training. Loud environments are definatly an occupational hazard.

Even with constant tinnitus, passing a class 1 audio exam wasn't a problem. That said, I'm rather cautious about what I expose my hearing to, and try to protect it as much as I can (which can be very difficult).

"is there any anecdotal evidence of one-off big noises giving a permanent step loss in hearing"? Yes. I once spent an hour wedged between a stage and crowd barrier with 10 other guys, trying to prevent it moving forward from a unruly crowd....with 3 trumpet players playing 1 meter from one of my ears....it's never been the same since.
Old 29th Mar 2009, 17:05
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I suddenly recalled my father's case. You might say that his was a one-time exposure to noise, though rather extreme.

He was having a fairly good war by all accounts. Somewhere up north. He didn't get hit by a bomb, but a shed. The said building, - that he was in or near - blew up. He got tinnitus at that moment.

They sent him off to Edinburgh to see a 'Brain Specialist', so one of his letters said. What a waste of time. Even then, they would have known what was going on - and that there was no treatment for tinnitus.
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Old 30th Mar 2009, 07:58
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Thank you folks for the interesting comments & contributions
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Old 30th Mar 2009, 09:53
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I'm a regular at concerts. I always wear earplugs. They are quite inconspicuous and you cant even see them in the dark.

Also the music sounds 1000 times better with them in. Sounds almost like you are listening to a CD.

And it saves your hearing which is a bonus.
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Old 30th Mar 2009, 10:17
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If, as this thread suggests, the audience is being deafened if they don't wear ear plugs, why do those on stage play so loud ?
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Old 31st Mar 2009, 07:41
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henry, you're opening a bag of worms there. Drums are naturally loud, and each muso wants to hear their instrument a little louder than they can hear the rest of the band, so they can 'lock in'. Thus, everyone continues to turn up.

Music also naturally sounds better loud, and to get a good even mix, it's a matter of having the PA louder than the sound coming off stage.
Generally punters should be able to endure 2 hours without hearing damage, but ringing ears while they go to bed happens.

Concerts do sound better with earplugs in, especially if they're properly designed earplugs for even frequency response. The reason it sounds better with them in is because it helps reduce the sound of reflections of soundwaves bouncing of walls, seats, etc so you're hearing the direct sound, without any reverberation.

A lot of technical advancements have occured in the past few years to getting even frequency response and coverage out of concert PA systems, which slightly reduces the possiblility of hearing damage by perhaps not being blasted with painful frequencies such as 2khz depending on where you're standing, however efficiency of speakers and amplifiers have also improved, increasing SPL:distance ratios.
Old 12th Apr 2009, 05:50
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Take it from me. Have an ear vacum before an audiogram!!
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Old 13th Apr 2009, 02:06
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Hearing Aids.

I'm 56 years old and have slight hearing impairment in one ear. Does anyone know of what the JAR regulations state regarding hearing aids? Can one still hold a ATPL if a hearing aid is worn for the impaired ear?
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Old 1st May 2009, 08:59
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I'm 56 years old and have slight hearing impairment in one ear. Does anyone know of what the JAR regulations state regarding hearing aids? Can one still hold a ATPL if a hearing aid is worn for the impaired ear?
I would also like to know the answer to this (as I may have to use it as a last resort.)

I am currently a serving Police Officer, but I dream of one day holding an ATPL. I am in the process of obtaining my PPL; however it is a slow process due to cost. Anyway, I obtained my Class 2 medical 2-3 years ago with no problems, especially none with my hearing. However, when I initially applied for the Police several years ago, I was told that my left ear was slightly below average, and so I had to re-take the hearing test a couple of weeks later (which I passed with no problems).

Fast forward to 2008, and I transferred to another force, and again had trouble with the hearing test. I was told that one of my ears was slightly below the acceptable limits, which I believe are as follows;

Anyway, I was accepted and thought no more about it.

I have no trouble with conversations etc, and to be honest, if these tests had not pointed anything out, I wouldn't have thought I had a problem.

My right ear does have a feeling that it has a small amount of “pressure" inside, but I have had my ears cleaned, and they were found to have no wax. Also, (and this is the strangest bit), when I close my mouth and swollow then breath, 90% of the time I can hear my breathing in my right ear then goes when I open my mouth??

My problem is I don't want to go to my doctor, and have my possible "over-reaction" noted on file, but at the same time, I need to get something done. I don't know if it is just nerves when I take these tests or what, but can anyone help?

I was hoping to go to a "private" Audiologist (if that’s correct) in the Northwest area, Liverpool or even Manchester. I don't mind paying to have my mind put at rest or for some advice, just as long as it stays private. Can anyone suggest anywhere? A look on Google found the following;
audiologists, consultation and private hearing treatment in Manchester

On a side note, I found these Class 1 requirements on another site;
The basic hearing test used throughout JAR-FCL 3 is the ability to hear conversational speech when tested with each ear at a distance of 2 metres from and with his back turned towards the AME. This test is done at every medical examination for both professional and private pilots. |
For professional pilots, and private pilots with an instrument rating, a further test called an audiogram is required. The audiogram is a test where you signify that you have heard sounds at different frequencies. Perfect hearing is measured as nil loss of hearing (0 decibel - 0 dB) at that particular frequency. Decreased hearing is shown as a decibel loss (10,20,30,40 decibels) at a particular frequency. The required hearing levels and the maximum allowable losses are:
35dB at 500Hz
35dB at 1000Hz
35dB at 2000Hz
50dB at 5000Hz
Thanks again.

Last edited by Mike12421; 1st May 2009 at 16:53.
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Old 1st May 2009, 23:45
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Thumbs up

Experience from being a drummer + other things...

Earplugs at gigs? Absolutely! If you only go to one a year then you might expect to soak up the abuse, but on a semi-regular basis - definitely. Ditto clubs and bars of a Friday - more than a few times a year and you are signing your own deaf certificate.

The RNID did work in nightclubs handing out earplugs/mini noise-meters though am sure it went over the heads of most. Now I won't set foot in one without some plugs.

Have heard some really narrow-minded opinions about 'how can you hear anything at all?' (you can, it isn't a vacuum) to 'I have a HNC in audio engineering and we were told all it does is physically stop the frequencies you can hear and still damages through the ones you can't' (what?!)

I used to work in pubs and for me, the noise was a greater risk than the passive smoke. It absolutely stuns me that bars in the UK are not required to offer protection to staff killing their senses. Smoking was phased out and noise in bars should be as well. Criminal. Ditto construction workers - hard working guys just wrecking their senses through ignorance or peer pressure.

Noise on the apron is to be feared and respected. I won't set foot outside the aircraft without some plugs, I even wear them under the headset, such is the noise on the intercom channel. Even ANR headsets give you an unpleasant 'hiss' which is directed straight into the ear. An ambient 320 cockpit is a surprisingly noisy place with all the cooling flow.

Real little hand-grenade this one. More should be done in the workplace to protect staff.

Having said all that it does seem subjective. I appreciate it is my little (big) bugbear and have met flying drummers that have beaten their kit every week for years with no protection that claim to feel no ill effect. I hope it doesn't creep up on them...

Listen safe please!
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Old 16th May 2009, 09:55
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Medical Class 1 & being half "deaf" in one ear


Just wondering if anyone has experience with being half deaf in one ear, for the medical class 1? It isn't completely deaf, just everything is quieter in that ear.

I read somewhere that the test is basically to ensure you can hear a conversation from 2 meters away, which I can easily do. The only real issue I have is pretty much unable to use a phone, or headphones (etc) only in that ear, it is just too quiet

(Unluckily for me, the only frequencies are "bad" are the ones used for normal speach...)

I will get a medical class 1 before doing any training further than for ppl, but was just wondering what the opinion in here would be.
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Old 16th May 2009, 12:05
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hearing aids and headsets

I am finally biting the bullet and checking out hearing aids. None of the providers seem to know anything about compatibility/interference with anr headsets. They say "buy them and try them". Anyone had any actual knowledge/experience with this? Thanks. (new member, private pilot)
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Old 16th May 2009, 15:30
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Passive Noise Reduction

I'm a military pilot with some significant high frequency hearing loss. I've found it a great help to use custom made ear plugs (Etymotic Research ER-15s) under a normal headset. The ear plugs will reduce the ambient noise of the aircraft, and will allow a greater signal to noise ratio, increasing the clarity of speech on the radio and intercom. I have used this combination on a variety of fixed wing aircraft, and it not only makes it easier to hear, but also makes flight much less fatiguing.

I'm not sure if a hearing aid will make a huge difference if you are in a noisy cockpit, as it would amplify both the speech that you want to hear and the aircraft noise that you are trying to filter out.
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