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Evaluation of Noise Effects in Auditory Function in Spanish Military Pilots

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Conference paper

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Military pilots are particularly exposed to a wide variety of environmental stresses, one of which is the noise produced by the aircraft used for flying duties. In addition to aircraft noise, changes in cabin pressure and vibration can be considered as contributing factors. Adverse effects can be produced under several situations, through exposure to noise in the flight line or during taxi, take off, or cruise operations. The environmental stress of noise can be partially attenuated through the use of noise reduction devices, but their effectiveness is still far from providing complete protection. As a consequence, limitations in speech communication and eventually hearing impairment or loss can result. This study investigates the incidence of noise-induced hearing loss in three groups of pilots belonging to the Spanish Armed Forces fighter pilots, transport pilots, and helicopter pilots. The results show that hearing loss in pilots should be considered an occupational disease linked to noise production, repeated barotraumas, and low-frequency vibrations. The lack of adequate hearing protection leads to hearing loss, and prevention is a key factor in stopping auditory impairment. The authors hope that this data will lead them to corrective measures that will stop the adverse effects of noise on military pilots.

Subject Categories:

  • Aircraft
  • Stress Physiology
  • Acoustics
  • Human Factors Engineering and Man Machine Systems
  • Noise Pollution and Control

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