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Home > Medical Examination > Could playing the drum affect my hearing to be an airline pilot?
Could playing the drum affect my hearing to be an airline pilot?
Pilot Career - Medical Examination
Friday, 14 October 2011 15:43

Playing Drum causes Hearing Loss

Hi Capt Lim,

I want to be a pilot just like you one day. So, do I have to stop playing the drum? This is because some people say that playing drum could affect my hearing.

I need your advice Capt.

Thanks Capt, have a nice day.


Hi Vincentius,

To become an airline pilot, you have to go through a hearing test in order to be awarded a Class I Medical Certificate.

If you are exposed to loud noise whilst playing the drums professionally, it would definitely affect your hearing unless you do it moderately as a hobby. Only a doctor can advise on the status of your hearing.

Nevertheless, I attach more information of a hearing test by CAA UK  for you below:-

JAR Class 1 Hearing Standards

The basic hearing test used 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 Authorized Medical Examiner'. 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.

This measures the ability to hear sounds at different frequencies (pitch). 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 frequencies that have to be tested are 500, 1000, 2000 and 3000 Hertz (Hz), and the maximum allowable losses is shown below:

500Hz     35 dB
1000Hz   35 dB
2000Hz   35 dB
3000Hz   50 dB

There may be some loss of hearing as a pilot’s career progresses (often due to noise induced hearing loss). If the audiogram figures reach a level 5 dB less than the renewal figures above, then an annual audiogram is required. However the hearing of experienced pilots at re-certification can be acceptable even if worse than the levels above, as JAR-FCL 3 Appendix 16 to Subparts B and C, paragraph 2 (b) states that: ‘If satisfactory hearing in a noise field corresponding to normal flight deck working conditions during all phases of flight can be demonstrated, recertification may be considered by the AMS (Aeromedical Section)’. This will usually take the form of a flight (real or simulated) with a training captain or instructor who reports that all tasks involving hearing were performed satisfactorily.

Ultimate Sound Test

Hearing Test

Set your volume to regular settings, as if you were watching any YouTube movie. Watch Hearing Test and listen very carefully using headphones. The video displays audio frequencies that are being played. You can determine what you can or what you cannot hear.

Typically, depending on age, audible frequencies will be between 20-30 Hertz on the low side of the audio spectrum, and 10-16 kiloHertz on the high side of the audio spectrum.

There are individuals, however, who can hear the whole spectrum between 16 Hz (Hertz) and 20 kHz (kiloHertz). Because of the encoding used during the audio preparation, tests above 18 kHz are not very reliable.

Please make sure that you do not increase the volume just to see if you can hear anything!

PS. To check for any latest updates or postings, you can follow my new Twitter at @CaptKHLim


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What are the pads actually called that stop the front wheel from spinning after takeoff. I believe they are up in the wheel well?
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