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Year : 2018  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 3  |  Page : 155-159

Association of flying time with hearing loss in military pilots

1 Armed Forces Aeromedical Centre, Audiology Clinic, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia
2 Northern Area Armed Forces Hospital, King Khalid Military City, Hafar Al-Batin, Saudi Arabia

Correspondence Address:
Naglaa Fayek Mohamed Hussien
Northern Area Armed Forces Hospital, P. O. Box 10018, Hafar Al-Batin 31991
Saudi Arabia
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DOI: 10.4103/sjmms.sjmms_10_18

PMID: 30787843

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Background: Military pilots are exposed to harmful noise levels, and the two possible effects of this are hearing loss and tinnitus. Objective: This study was conducted to determine the prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss among Saudi military pilots and to determine its association with total flight hours and aircraft type (i.e., fixed and rotary wing). Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted at the Armed Forces Aeromedical Centre, Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, between November 2015 and October 2016. A total of 150 Saudi military pilots were interviewed using a structured questionnaire. Pure-tone audiometry was used to measure hearing thresholds. Hearing threshold levels were compared between age groups and aircraft category. The association between total flying hours and the development of noise-induced hearing loss was analyzed. Results: The overall prevalence of noise-induced hearing loss in the military pilots was 18.4%, with a higher prevalence among fixed-wing pilots (42%) as compared with rotary-wing pilots (23%). Pilots with ≥2000 flying hours had a significantly higher hearing threshold compared with those in other categories. Age was a statistically significant risk factor. Conclusions: This study found that active pilots of both fixed- and rotary-wing aircrafts are at a high risk of noise-induced hearing loss; however, fixed-wing pilots with ≥2000 flying hours are at a higher risk. These findings support recommendations requiring instructions on the proper use of hearing protection devices to avoid noise-induced hearing loss.

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