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Deafness in the Aerospace Industry

The aerospace industry is ranked highly as one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries. Working and being a part of a world leader industry has its many perks and benefits, but it also bears unpleasant side effects. One of the industries with the highest hearing loss rate of all professions is the aerospace industry. The constant exposure from potentially damaging noise such as the whir of a blaring aircraft engine or the roar of a takeoff can be dangerous for aviation workers. Pilots, flight attendants, service technicians, mechanics, baggage handlers and runway workers are exposed to prolonged engine noises from aircraft and other equipment almost daily making them highly susceptible to occupational hearing loss and deafness.

Hearing loss due to noise pollution is a pretty common yet serious occupational disease. When a person has experienced years of permanent exposure to elevated noise levels, hearing loss is inescapable. Noise-induced hearing loss can limit one’s ability to hear sounds and understand speech, which impairs a person’s ability to communicate. Hearing aids may help, but they do not restore the hearing to normal. Having a hearing problem is a big deal as it can reduce a person’s quality of life.

At present, a lot of research is being done to equip aeroplanes with the active noise control technology to significantly reduce noise for a much quieter experience. Additionally, much of the extreme noise from the aeroplanes is now filtered out by using ear plugs, ear muffs and communication headsets which are exceedingly effective in reducing noise. For occupational safety and health, those in the airline industry are required to use noise shielding gears and hearing protection devices with active noise reduction which offer increased protection especially on workplaces where the noise is over 85 decibels so that they can preserve their hearing.

Hearing loss may occur from many sources and causes. Some are treatable, while many are permanent or progressive. Fortunately, at present, hearing loss isn’t as much of a concern for those in the aerospace industry as ear protection is now the norm.  But in spite of such development and improvements, aerospace industry workers need to take the risk of noise exposure seriously because of its health ramifications, especially since this is all about long-term exposure. They should always remember that prevention is still the key here and that all comes under the protection of occupational health and safety.