A Study of Risk Factors and Prevalence for Noise-Induced Hearing Loss in Canadian Armed Forces Pilots


  1. Smith, E.
  2. Burrell, C.
Corporate Authors
Defence Research and Development Canada, Toronto Research Centre , Toronto ON (CAN);Canadian Forces Health Services, Ottawa ON (CAN)
Introduction: The aircrew environment presents a wide variety of noise hazards, including high levels of ambient noise during flight, which may both increase the risk of permanent hearing loss and interfere with communication and flight tasks. In particular, it has been suggested that the volume of the CF-188 Hornet’s (CF-18) aural alerts are sometimes insufficiently audible during normal communication traffic. To ascertain the prevalence of this problem, as well as to better understand the hearing status, risk factors for hearing loss, and current practices with respect to hearing protection measures among Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) aircrew, we undertook the present study, with a special focus on CAF pilots. Methods: A retrospective study of hearing status in CAF aircrew was carried out in January of 2012 at several participating flying squadrons across Canada. The participants were 125 male and female pilots, ranging from 24-56 years of age. The data consisted of responses to a 56-item electronic questionnaire regarding risk factors for acquiring a hearing loss and audiometric measurements made at initial aircrew selection and every three years thereafter up to 15-years post-enrolment. Of the 125 participants who completed the questionnaire, 62 permitted access to audiometric data. Results: We observed a mean change in hearing thresholds of nearly 20 dB between enrolment and 15 years of service, indicating that hearing damage in this population of pilots is markedly wors

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Aircrew;audiogram;Hearing Loss;Occupational Noise
Report Number
DRDC-RDDC-2018-P060 — External Literature
Date of publication
01 Apr 2018
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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