December 2007 Issue

Cockpit Noise

Even short-term exposure to small-aircraft cockpit noise can harm your hearing and increase fatigue. Why a good headset enhances safety.

As recently as 10 or so years ago, the idea of an aviation headset incorporating active circuitry reducing cockpit noise wasn’t commonplace. Earlier, cockpits had become extremely busy, and reaching for a microphone every time ATC called proved to be a major distraction. Finally gone were the days when pilots and crews strained to hear the radio and each other, evoking memories of the takeoff scene from the movie Airplane! Headsets have become such a common-place item that we tend to take them for granted—we don’t often pause to think much about the broader implications of an inferior headset. Having recently had the pleasure to test headsets in a laboratory for sister publication Aviation Consumer, I came away with a new-found appreciation for the fssafety benefits a good headset can provide.

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