University of Oulu

Military aviation noise : noise-induced hearing impairment and noise protection

Saved in:
Author: Kuronen, Pentti1,2,3
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Otorhinolaryngology
2Oulu University Hospital
3Finnish Defence Forces, Headquarters
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 2.4 MB)
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: 2004
Publish Date: 2004-09-03
Thesis type: Doctoral Dissertation
Defence Note: Academic Dissertation to be presented with the assent of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Oulu, for public discussion in the Auditorium 101 A of the Faculty of Medicine (Aapistie 5 A), on September 3rd, 2004, at 12 noon
Reviewer: Professor Einar Laukli
Professor Jukka Ylikoski


This research on military aviation noise was conducted because the personnel working with military aircraft were concerned about noise induced hearing damage. In addition, comprehensive data on hearing impairments and occupational exposure of military pilots in the Finnish Air Force was not available. Moreover, data on the effects of overflight noise of military jets was necessary for the evaluation of noise induced hearing deteriorations of members of the public who might be exposured accidentally for the low-level jets’ overflights.

The averaged noise exposure levels of pilots varied during a flight from 97 dB(A) to 106 dB(A) in the cockpit and from 83 dB(A) to 100 dB(A) at the entrance of the ear canal. Radio noise was 4–10 dB higher than background noise inside the helmet. The attenuation provided by air crew helmets varied from10 to 21 dB(A) in the laboratory, and was at the same level during real flights. The attenuation measured in the laboratory and in working conditions was about 30 dB(A) for earmuffs. An active noise cancellation (ANC) device decreased averaged noise exposure (LAeq8min) 4–8 dB over the noise attenuation of the same helmets when the ANC system was off.

The noise of overflights by military jets were measured and the noise levels were lower than those known to cause the permanent threshold shifts. However, noise induced hearing damages might be possible in certain conditions.

In order to assess the hearing loss risk of pilots, hearing thresholds were measured before and after one flight using both conventional and extended high frequency (EHF) audiometry. Minor temporary threshold shifts (TTS) were revealed. The risk of noise-induced damage at the studied exposure levels is, in all probability, rather small.

A novel NoiseScan data management system proved to be an interesting tool in assessment of the risk of developing hearing impairment on the basis of known risk factors. Due to the small number of risk factors, the hearing of pilots was shown to be at considerably less risk than that of industrial workers in Finland.

see all

Series: Acta Universitatis Ouluensis. D, Medica
ISSN-E: 1796-2234
ISBN: 951-42-7426-1
ISBN Print: 951-42-7425-3
Issue: 795
Copyright information: © University of Oulu, 2004. This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.