Class 2 Medical Hearing Test Methods

moulds80

Well-Known Member
Good evening, I have one question about the hearing exam for a Class 2 medical particularly in regards to Air Traffic Control. One of the standards is to “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.” I have tested this and can accomplish this from twice that distance. I understand that the ATC PEPC test however involves using the headphones and responding to the beeps. I have a quiet but continuous ringing in my ears that is typically only noticeable in near silent situations such as when I lay down to go to sleep or during exams in college, however the near silence from the headphones is the exact environment of the PEPC test. The question is if the ringing affected me to the point where I was to fail the headphone portion of the test, could I demonstrate proficiency with the alternate method and still clear the medical exam?
 

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
Medical Standards for ATC 3930.3a says you must pass the audiometry test at 500, 1000, and 2000 Hz. The acceptable loss is 25 dB in the better ear and 40 dB in the worse ear. There are no provisions listed for other tests.

These frequencies are those of the spoken voice. The high pitched noise you hear is at a higher frequency and should not interfere with sound at these frequencies.
 

TGatch

Well-Known Member
Good evening, I have one question about the hearing exam for a Class 2 medical particularly in regards to Air Traffic Control. One of the standards is to “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.” I have tested this and can accomplish this from twice that distance. I understand that the ATC PEPC test however involves using the headphones and responding to the beeps. I have a quiet but continuous ringing in my ears that is typically only noticeable in near silent situations such as when I lay down to go to sleep or during exams in college, however the near silence from the headphones is the exact environment of the PEPC test. The question is if the ringing affected me to the point where I was to fail the headphone portion of the test, could I demonstrate proficiency with the alternate method and still clear the medical exam?

I have the same thing going on actually. My father used to fly but he had to retire due to hearing loss and not being able to pass his medical. HIs was caused from working as a ramp agent when he was younger with no hearing protection and also when he flew he didn't use any, and the headsets back then weren't what they are today. I am very cautious of this fact and take it upon myself to ALWAYS carry around a pair of ear plugs. I have the ringing too, but I recently took the "Beep test" just to be sure, and since I have a family member with hearing loss you can never be too safe, and My hearing is in the normal range, and I could hear it at 10 decibels or a little less. You should be fine, but even when I got my first class medical they never did the test, I guess he just took my hearing during our conversation as enough.
 

Lance F

Well-Known Member
Medical Standards for ATC 3930.3a says you must pass the audiometry test at 500, 1000, and 2000 Hz. The acceptable loss is 25 dB in the better ear and 40 dB in the worse ear. There are no provisions listed for other tests.

These frequencies are those of the spoken voice. The high pitched noise you hear is at a higher frequency and should not interfere with sound at these frequencies.
Maybe the standards for FAA Form 8500-8 and whatever is used for ATC are different. However, for flying certificate medicals the real human vlice test is acceptable even if you flunk the tone test. Chapter 4 "Examination Techniques and Criteria for Qualifications" of the "Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners" states in Section II.B.2 "If the applicant fails the pure tone audiometric test and has not been tested by conversational voice, that test may be administered."
 

My Flight Surgeon

Sr. Aviation Medical Examiner
Maybe the standards for FAA Form 8500-8 and whatever is used for ATC are different. However, for flying certificate medicals the real human vlice test is acceptable even if you flunk the tone test. Chapter 4 "Examination Techniques and Criteria for Qualifications" of the "Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners" states in Section II.B.2 "If the applicant fails the pure tone audiometric test and has not been tested by conversational voice, that test may be administered."
The standards are different for ATC.
 

Lance F

Well-Known Member
The standards are different for ATC.
That's too bad for the original poster. I have the same ringing he describes and cannot pass the audiometry test, although I can hear a real human voice at considerably greater distance than the FAA standard of 6' without a problem. The frequencies may be the same, but the test does not duplicate the ability to hear & understand the human voice...at least for the OP and me (and I would guess many others).
 

FM_Weasel

Well-Known Member
I have a quiet but continuous ringing in my ears that is typically only noticeable in near silent situations
I'm right there with you, and the test makes that ringing even more noticeable, as it's rather quiet in the testing room.

Be warned, the audible tones are VERY faint (or appear so to me). The sound of my test administrator shuffling paper on the other side of the room was louder. But I still passed easily. Just concentrate and you'll be ok.
 

TGatch

Well-Known Member
I'm right there with you, and the test makes that ringing even more noticeable, as it's rather quiet in the testing room.

Be warned, the audible tones are VERY faint (or appear so to me). The sound of my test administrator shuffling paper on the other side of the room was louder. But I still passed easily. Just concentrate and you'll be ok.
Also, since I had one done (not for my medical but just because of dad's hearing loss) Holding your breath helps you hear it better. I don't know if it's standard but I had a headset on to hear the beeps, and with that I heard myself breathing in and out, so holding it really helped. Or maybe I just thought it did.
 
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