Groundresonance Posted October 11, 2007 Report Share Posted October 11, 2007 Fellow Pilots, I've been experiencing a mild ringing in my ears for the last few weeks, which I've come to know as a condition called Tinnitus. I first started noticing a faint noise when sitting in a quiet space about a year and a half ago. This also coincides with when I started flying turbine helicopters on a daily basis instead of just once a week. Why the condition has worsened in the last few weeks is a mystery as I am back to flying turbines approximately once a week again. Though Tinnitus can be caused by repeated exposure to noise, it can also be caused by aging, genetics, or a myriad of other causes, so my theory that the helicopter may have caused this is just that: a theory. While it would make sense that the high-pitched whine of the turbine engine is the likely culprit, I am a bit frustrated with that prospect, as I have always been very protective of my hearing. When I'd go to rock concerts as a kid, I would wear earplugs whereas most of my friends wouldn't. And as a pilot, I've worn earplugs and a ANR headset whereas many of the pilots I work with just wear a regular headset and report no hearing issues even after 20 plus years of flying turbines. I've always been a bit more sensitive to sound than most, so maybe that's part of the cause as well. I'm a bit perplexed, as I have less than 1,000 hours turbine and am still in my early thirties. I wouldn't have expected something like this until much later in my career (again, assuming that this was caused by the helicopter noise, which is not for sure). Even with all that protection, I do notice that the high-frequency noise from the engine penetrates through both headset and earplug. It's not uncomfortable or loud, but I suspect that over time, the repeated frequency may be causing some damage. Maybe not and maybe it's completely unrelated to my profession, though that seems unlikely. My doctor tested my hearing and my hearing is fine, so that's a relief. He did say that there is no cure for Tinnitus and that the key is to prevent it from getting worse. I'm not happy about it, but can live with it at the current level, but would not want the ringing to get any louder. My questions to you, my fellow pilots, are: 1. Has anyone experienced anything similar? 2. Does anyone know of a way to get more protection from the engine whine than just a headset and earplugs? I fly the B206 and AS350 and the B206 seems to be louder for me in terms of engine noise. It's much better when flying with my helmet, but I do a lot of charter work where I just wear a headset (work in US) and that's when I notice the whining engine more. I went to a custom earplug clinic, but they didn't have anything that would target the high-end noises. Maybe I should strap a pillow to the top of my headset so that it pushes up against the little over-head window in the B206 when I fly to block the noise coming in. I'm sure my passengers would enjoy the new look! Thanks for any input! Quote Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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