Virginblue4
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Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:03 pm

I know hearing is quite a serious thing when being issued a Class 1 Medical certificate. Would a perforated or ruptured eardrum stop it being issued?

Sorry if this is in the wrong forum.
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Ruscoe
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RE: Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:31 pm

Perforated ear drums are common in children.
Most heal when the infection/eustachian tube dysfunction is corrected.

However if one has a perforated drum as an adult, which does not heal, it may be because of a chronic underlying problem.

If your hearing is within limits,then a PPL may be granted, but Commercial or ATPL may be not at all, or conditional.

Some chronic ear problems can be patched or corrected.

A designated Medical Examiner, could look at your case and give you more specific advice.

Ruscoe
 
Virginblue4
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RE: Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Wed Aug 03, 2011 8:42 pm

Ok thank you. I don't have one myself, my hearing is fine so I believe. I was just wondering  
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Sasha
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RE: Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Thu Aug 04, 2011 1:18 am

I have a colleague whose eardrum was injured at the age of 13 or smth. She is now 29 and during flights experiences discomfort in the affected ear, and sometimes pain. I suppose it is due to rapid pressure changes. So I suppose the candidate for the pilot job has to evaluate his/her experience so far. If the rupture is healed and not causing any problem during regular flights as a pax, then proceed with the medical... Have to bear in mind some landings can involve very rapid descend.
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georgiaame
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RE: Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Thu Aug 04, 2011 8:54 pm

The regulations are a tad nebulous. I will post them for you, but basically, a perforated ear drum by itself is NOT disqualifying for any class. It becomes disqualifying if it is associated with pathology. SO, if an airman walks into my office with an ice pick in his ear, or a rip roaring middle ear infection that has just ruptured the drum and there is nasty stuff oozing out, that is definitely disqualifying. BUT, if the same person walks in, has a small hole from either of the above from 5 years earlier, and has no hearing disability or positional vertigo, only a hole, than yes, I can certify, at any class level.

Here are the rules (First Class, II/III are less rigorous, but the pathology part is the same) :
§ 67.105 Ear, nose, throat, and equilibrium.
top

Ear, nose, throat, and equilibrium standards for a first-class airman medical certificate are:

(a) The person shall demonstrate acceptable hearing by at least one of the following tests:

(1) Demonstrate an ability to hear an average conversational voice in a quiet room, using both ears, at a distance of 6 feet from the examiner, with the back turned to the examiner.

(2) Demonstrate an acceptable understanding of speech as determined by audiometric speech discrimination testing to a score of at least 70 percent obtained in one ear or in a sound field environment.

(3) Provide acceptable results of pure tone audiometric testing of unaided hearing acuity according to the following table of worst acceptable thresholds, using the calibration standards of the American National Standards Institute, 1969 (11 West 42d Street, New York, NY 10036):
Frequency (Hz) 500 Hz 1000 Hz 2000 Hz 3000 Hz
Better ear (Db) 35 30 30 40
Poorer ear (Db) 35 50 50 60

(b) No disease or condition of the middle or internal ear, nose, oral cavity, pharynx, or larynx that—

(1) Interferes with, or is aggravated by, flying or may reasonably be expected to do so; or

(2) Interferes with, or may reasonably be expected to interfere with, clear and effective speech communication.

(c) No disease or condition manifested by, or that may reasonably be expected to be manifested by, vertigo or a disturbance of equilibrium.
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Virginblue4
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RE: Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Thu Aug 04, 2011 11:20 pm

Thanks for all of the replies so far. My right ear ha been aching a bit lately, and I may have slightly dulled hearing (I say may because I might just be worrying so much that I have lead myself to believe this).

I am going to give it 2-3 weeks and if it is still hurting or if I still have dulled hearing, I am going to go to the doctors.

I have read about ear irrigation, and although it is usually successful, there is a very small risk of causing deafness which of course would ruin all my dreams of becoming an airline pilot. I am just so wary of my ears, I am not quite sure what to do.
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georgiaame
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RE: Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Fri Aug 05, 2011 10:49 pm

Virginblue, since you are UK, your rules may be different, although I doubt it. In your CURRENT situation, I would have to disqualify you , and then advise you on how to appeal my decision to the FAA. (I have no idea what so ever how the UK handles these situations.)

Now for some free medical advise from across the pond: Please don't wait 2-3 weeks to see a doctor! You could have an infection that needs early treatment, an ear wax clog that can be quickly removed, an allergy problem blocking your eustachian tube (good reason NOT to fly). Delaying could put you in a bad position for future flying.

Best of luck to you.
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exFWAOONW
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RE: Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Fri Aug 05, 2011 11:10 pm

What he said   
Waiting may make things worse.

I ruptured both eardrums as an infant. Combined with allergies, flying was painful. Even though I loved it, the pain just took all the fun away. On one trip, it was four days on the ground before my ears stopped hurting and I could hear clearly again.

I said all that to say this, if you really want to pursue flying, don't risk the damage by waiting.
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Virginblue4
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RE: Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:18 am

Thanks for the last two replies. I going to see a doctor tomorrow about it, I will let you know.

Jordan  
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Virginblue4
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RE: Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Sat Aug 06, 2011 12:54 pm

I just got back from the doctors. I have a build up of fluid in my inner ear which is causing the 'cloudy' hearing and aching. They told me to spray salt water up my nose for the next 7 days and it should draw out the fluid. She asked me about my future plans and I told her about becoming a pilot and she said about how hearing is a serious thing and that I did the right thig by coming here.

Thanks to the two people who advised me to go  

Although it turned out to be nothing serious, I now have peace of mind.

Jordan  
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Virginblue4
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RE: Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Tue Aug 09, 2011 10:48 pm

Quoting GeorgiaAME (Reply 6):
Virginblue, since you are UK, your rules may be different, although I doubt it. In your CURRENT situation, I would have to disqualify you , and then advise you on how to appeal my decision to the FAA. (I have no idea what so ever how the UK handles these situations.)

So now I know what it is, would you still disqualify me?
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flymia
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RE: Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:06 am

Quoting virginblue4 (Reply 5):
I am going to give it 2-3 weeks and if it is still hurting or if I still have dulled hearing, I am going to go to the doctors

Nevermind you went good job.

Quoting virginblue4 (Reply 8):
. I going to see a doctor tomorrow about it, I will let you know.

Exactly no need to ever wait when you think something is wrong with your ear eyes etc. Have a pain in your finger in your ankle then take a few days, but eyes, ears, noses things like that waiting is never a good idea glad you went to the doc ASAP.

Quoting virginblue4 (Reply 9):
I just got back from the doctors. I have a build up of fluid in my inner ear which is causing the 'cloudy' hearing and aching. They told me to spray salt water up my nose for the next 7 days and it should draw out the fluid. She asked me about my future plans and I told her about becoming a pilot and she said about how hearing is a serious thing and that I did the right thig by coming here.

Sounds like it is just a build up so why would this disquailify you if it is a one time thing. By that I mean you do not have a chronic problem which if this the first time this happening you probably dont.
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Virginblue4
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RE: Becoming An Airline Pilot - Perforated Eardrum?

Wed Aug 10, 2011 4:59 pm

Quoting flymia (Reply 11):
By that I mean you do not have a chronic problem which if this the first time this happening you probably dont.

She said it was just a build up and is common in people who have hayfever, which I do.
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