How Jet Engine Noise Affects Hearing in Pilots

Your ears are ringing nonstop, but it’s not from wind chimes or church bells.

10% of Americans have tinnitus. This debilitating condition can stop and start without any provocation, leaving the victim with seemingly no recourse. Once you hear the ringing, it’s hard to focus on anything else.

And for people in noise-polluted careers, such as pilots, it may seem as if there aren’t any solutions. Luckily, there is relief.

What causes hearing loss in the first place? From pilots to mechanics, the cause of hearing loss is surprisingly more common than you think.


What Causes Hearing Loss?

There are many causes of hearing loss that individuals have suffered for decades. However, there is only one factor that affects virtually everyone in our urban, industrialized societies.

Noise pollution.

In short, noise pollution is when hearing is slowly damaged by everyday sounds. Most sounds during your daily routine are not enough to cause hearing loss on their own. But when you subject yourself to these sounds day after day, year after year, it creates compounding damage.

Worse, noise pollution doesn’t cause noticeable hearing loss. It is a trickling effect, happening so slowly that it’s not until you struggle to hear a certain sound that you might realize your hearing is not what it once was.



The primary culprit of this noise pollution is our means of travel. It’s impossible to live in metropolitan cities without experiencing these sounds for at least a few minutes each day.

Car engines and horns. Trains and trams. Subways and tunnels.

And the worst offender of them all, planes.

Have you ever had a headache after a long plane ride? Been exhausted? Or maybe you even felt a little sick?

While the seats sure aren’t comfortable, and coming across a rude passenger doesn’t help either, the main cause of this is the loud drone of jet engines. Listening to a jet engine for just a few seconds without ear protection is not a comfortable experience. Now imagine listening to it for hours.


Causes of Hearing Loss in Pilots

You might only have to listen to this airplane drone for a few hours at most, but pilots have to endure it nearly every day. Hearing loss is rampant for all employees of the aviation industry: pilots, flight attendants, and runway staff.

Unfortunately, pilots can’t put in earplugs. And even the best noise-canceling headsets can, at most, only provide 30% noise reduction. When a jet engine can generate 160 decibels of sound, this is not enough to prevent hearing loss in pilots.

It’s no surprise that after decades of a career in the aviation industry, most pilots are lucky to only get minor symptoms of tinnitus. Being proactive in preventing hearing loss and tinnitus is needed, or at least mitigating its effects.


Treating Tinnitus with Sound Therapy

It’s not the end of the world for pilots or anyone else affected by tinnitus. Now that you know what causes hearing loss and tinnitus, it is highly recommended to wear hearing protection whenever possible. If you have already experienced the ringing, there are easy affordable solutions to manage it.

Try the AudioCardio app to get back those lost frequencies and keep the beauty of sound in your life.