usamex
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Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Sat Nov 18, 2017 10:52 pm

I haven't been here in awhile, all my previous posts and even my user name are gone, yet the site still shows me as a member since 2009. Oh, well...

After 38 years working in airports from the local government side, I am now about start working for a security agency that handles security for the foreign flag carriers at IAH. I will be spending a fair number of hours on the ramp and of course will need hearing protection like everyone else. But I also had two incidents this summer of sudden hearing loss and am now in the market for hearing aids. The foam plug type won't work as far as I can tell because some part of the hearing aid will already be in the ear canal. An over-the-ear muff-type protector could work, but how would I hear the two-way radio, assuming one is required of me? I realize there are expensive muff-type protectors that integrate communications, but my employer just provides the cheapo foam ones.

Question: are there any ramp workers on the forum who use hearing aids, and if so, how have you integrated your hearing aids with hearing protection?

Thanks very much for any input.
 
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HAWK21M
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Sun Nov 19, 2017 10:47 am

The Ear defenders are built to only block out low frequency noise and permit high frequency noise.
I may not win often, but I damn well never lose!!! ;)
 
usamex
Topic Author
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Sun Nov 19, 2017 11:41 pm

Thanks, sounds like just what I need! It's the high frequencies I've lost the most.
 
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flyingturtle
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Mon Nov 20, 2017 11:51 am

Modern hearing aids have limiters anyway; they will never blast your ear with 140 dB, for example. It depends on the type of ear plug, though. Before you go working without hearing protection, ask your hearing aid consultant about which frequency your hearing aid will protect you, and which ones will pass your ear plug even in case of switched-off hearing aid.

(One of my referee whistles has 120 dB, and it sounds silent when I have my hearing aid on. It's painful without... the perfect punishment for unruly players! :biggrin: )


David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
RNOcommctr
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Mon Nov 20, 2017 4:15 pm

Hey turtle, thanks for your response. I got my old credentials on this site back... that's why you're seeing a different user name. One point of clarification: are you saying that some kinds of hearing aids also act as hearing protection? Is it sufficient protection?

Thanks very much!
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flyingturtle
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Tue Nov 21, 2017 6:34 am

RNOcommctr wrote:
are you saying that some kinds of hearing aids also act as hearing protection?


Yes. Every modern hearing aid has a decibel limit, either by:
- your audiologist sets a limit
- or the hearing aid is not able to produce sounds that loud anyway. My hearing aid is not technically able to produce sounds louder than 140 dB, for example.

Several hearing aids also downregulate as soon as there are more than a few seconds of loud noises.

RNOcommctr wrote:
Is it sufficient protection?


You'll have to ask your audiologist for reassurance, or even ask him write a letter stating what is safe to do with a hearing aid. I can guess that workplace safety rules will not allow it anyway, given that many bosses don't have good understanding of what these hearing aids can do.

I have tight-fitting ear buds: http://www.hoerzentrum-online.de/tl_fil ... dukt41.jpg which block out noise very well. (When the thingy is switched off, I hear next to nothing, I hear much more when I remove the hearing aid altogether.)

These slim ones http://www.echo-hoergeraete.de/images/b ... Modern.jpg will not offer that much of protection.


David
Keeping calm is terrorism against those who want to live in fear.
 
RNOcommctr
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Wed Nov 22, 2017 5:03 am

Great information, Turtle... thanks!
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Balerit
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Thu Nov 23, 2017 5:44 pm

I've lost my hearing between 2600 to 3600 Hz even though I wore ear muffs 99% of the time. This seems to fall in the female voice range and I battle to hear girls talking. :) When it's really quiet I can hear what sounds like a GPU running faintly in the background and when I go outside to check if there is a car idling, there's nothing outside. I also have constant hiss, similar to what we call "the sound of christmas beetles" (Cicada's) on a hot day.
Licensed Aircraft Maintenance Engineer (retired).
 
SpinOn2
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Fri Nov 24, 2017 4:58 am

The over ear muffs will be fine, with your radio just get an extender to clip up near your shoulder like a cop wears, when you are on the ramp. You can still hear normal close conversation pretty well. It's certainly loud on the ramp, but unless you are standing right next to the APU exhausts or there are air starts, it's really not that bad.
 
RNOcommctr
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Sat Nov 25, 2017 9:41 pm

Thanks for all the helpful ideas. One concern I have is that even if a hearing aid has a decibel limiter, unless it's a completely "In The Ear" type of hearing aid, which basically blocks the ear canal, then it seems to me loud noise could leak around the hearing aid and into the ear.

Follow-up question: since I already know my employer is only going to provide the foam plugs, can anyone tell me which brands of muff-type protectors are most used by ramp workers?

Thanks.
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gregorygoodwin
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Sun Nov 26, 2017 11:56 pm

I work in aircraft maintenance for FedEx (structures technician) and I too have a severe hearing loss. I have a set of the in the ear canal and over the ear hearing aids. Either one, I can't use foam ear plugs. Without them, I have a difficult time hearing people speak, especially women and children. So, I know of your dilemma. Fortunately, at work, I interact with men I know and can understand what they say as their voices resonates within a range I can understand. One of the draw backs of this hearing loss is that I find myself avoiding social meetings that make me uncomfortable. At work I wear ear muffs that are company provided. The brand is Warren Leight, if I recall correctly. They are a mass produced hearing protection that may not be what you are looking for. I feel for you and your situation. Yet, let me say, that I know of a friend of mine who had a hearing loss that required him to know American Sign Language and how to read lips. He was hired as a aviation maintenance tech by Southwest Airlines and works flight line maintenance. So, there is always a way if you want it bad enough, Good luck and may God bless you in your endeavors.

Gregory
 
RNOcommctr
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Mon Nov 27, 2017 4:52 am

God bless you, too, gregorygoodwin! I was sitting in the Costco hearing aid center today (didn't buy quite yet, but I have to say the salesperson gave me a lot more information than my ENT specialists) and I felt something almost like self-pity, but I guess it was more like self-compassion... that this is a serious personal challenge and poses a threat to my employment. So it's good to hear from someone else in a similar situation. I always took my hearing for granted but now I realize how precious it is. I texted someone today about not getting my hearing aids yet, and they responded back, "Huh?" You know, the usual trite "joke" about hearing loss. Just doesn't seem funny anymore. Thanks again for chiming in.
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entdoc
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Thu Nov 30, 2017 8:23 am

i will put in a few cents worth as an ENT. no I do not personally sell hearing aids.
there are many types of hearing aids some totally in the canal and others behind the ear with a small canal insert
the type a person can use best is determined by the dispensing audiologist or hearing aid dealer after a full audiogram

years ago i believe hearing aids simply amplified all frequencies, but i understand some newer ones can be programmed for different
levels of amplification per frequency.

some aids are vented which allows lower frequency noises to pass to the ear while the aid amplifies higher frequencies.

most noise damage to the human cochlea occurs at least at the start in the higher frequencies (3000 hertz and up) as the hair cell receptors
for those frequencies are in the outermost turn of the cochlea and most subject to the acoustic trauma from the loud noises.
at first the loss can be a V shape notch centered at 3 or 4000 hertz, with continued exposure the other frequencies will start to drop as well

per Robert Dobie MD who is a huge expert on (and has written books and articles on ) noise induced hearing loss, the loss from noise exposure at the higher frequencies usually maxes at aroung 70 decibel loss and in lower to mid frequencies at around 40
loss more than that is usually due to other endogenous conditions of the ear or cochlea

pretty much any ear plug or protector will give some 20-30 decibels of protection against the noise pressure
so standing next to 80 decibel noise with protection the ear will get 50-60 decibels.
probably an in the canal aid will do similar as it pretty much closes the canal and it is possible the audiologist can set limits to the amplification in advance especially knowing that a person will be exposed to noise.
headphone type protectors above that can offer an additional "layer" of protection (?? do such headphones have radio connection to other people on the ramp or to some sort of control person or facility?)
of course a behind the ear aid with a small plastic canal insert will protect less.

also need to remember legalities (OSHA whatever) of exposure. IIRC under 80 decibel there is no time limit on exposure ie OK to work an 8 hour day.
IIRC for every 3 decibels the legal exposure time is halved. ie 83 decibels can be exposed no more than 4 hours.
these tables are findable on the net.

perhaps get reports (which should be available) of noise levels in the areas you will be working in. those along with your audiogram can
help the audiologist or hearing aid dispenser best determine which type of aid is most appropriate and how best to protect your ears in addition.
might it be worth a one off purchase of the better headphone protectors (with communication capability) to help save the remaining hearing? might be worth consideration.
good luck
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Thu Nov 30, 2017 9:35 am

Hearing aids are now available with Bluetooth, so a radio equipped with "bluetooth I/O" can communicate directly with your hearing aid. Listening to MP3 players, etc., drove the development of these versions. Your hearing aid won't know a radio from a smartphone.
Google "bluetooth hearing aid"

Some behind-the-ear models of hearing aid have in-canal modules with very high ambient noise isolation. I've written a few patent apps on hearing aids.
 
entdoc
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Thu Nov 30, 2017 10:08 am

my bad you are right totally forgot that hearing aids today use BT for cellphones TV and whatnot.
(after that whole "lecture"!)
 
WPvsMW
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Fri Dec 01, 2017 6:37 am

entdoc, I enjoy your posts... and IMO your posts are always a positive contribution.
 
entdoc
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Re: Ramp Workers With Hearing Aids

Fri Dec 01, 2017 8:48 am

Mille Grazi

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