>Do you think she could jump with her hearing aids still in? What would >you all recommend we do to try to ease her concern on the subject?
My concern, based partly on being a SL-I and partly having grandmothers with hearing aids, is that hearing aids are terrible at separating noise from voice. Any noise at all seems to make voice unintelligible, a big issue under canopy. In addition, some hearing aids saturate at high noise levels, making all sounds unintelligible. A second concern is that we sometimes lose earpieces (which is one reason we have two) and losing her hearing aid unexpectedly may make her panic or become extremely distracted.
If the DZ uses earpiece radios, mention that this is just like a hearing aid, and the volume can be cranked up to compensate for her hearing loss. If they use visual means of landing (like an arrow or paddles) point out that she doesn't need to hear well anyway to make the jump.
If they use only pager type radios, then the use of the hearing aid may be neccessary, but I would mention to her that using it puts her at higher risk than an "average" student. At the very least, the JM should ask her a question in the plane with the door open - and if she can't understand him, she probably shouldn't jump.
"What problems have been associated with wearing hearing aids while skydiving?
Q. I recently made two tandem jumps and would like to do AFF. Although I wear hearing aids, I took them out for the jumps. Have you heard of any problems with wearing hearing aids while skydiving, providing I kept them from falling out.
A. We checked with another jumper who wears hearing aids full-time. He told us he's worn them jumping, although sometimes they turned themselves off in the aircraft during the climb to altitude - apparently that response helps protect both the wearer and the devices themselves. That created the problem of being in the line-up and not being able to hear the exit count. But as far as experiencing other problems, such as any caused by rapid changes, he reported none. But after jumping with his for a while, he stopped wearing them at the DZ."
I got this from August's Skydiving Magazine ( I think it was august!)
Seems to me that if there is a chance that the hearing aids may cease to function properly, a tandem would be the best bet for a first jump. Then she would know what to expect in terms of the hearing aids and make an informed decision then.
Blue skies, Anne
"It's not the heights that I am afraid of, it is the impact that bothers me."
A buddy of mine jumps with 2 hearing aids. He uses a full face helmet and has no problems. Years ago when he started jumping static line he didn't have a problem. It was when he advanced to AFF when the wind bothered him. The problem was resolved with a full face helmet. The instructor wired the radio in his helmet for him.
Skydiving is not a static excercise with discrete predictability...
That's the best advice I've heard on the subject. I think I'll show her this and then see if she wants to go.
Our DZ uses paddles (no fancy radios here in South Africa ;)), so she need not worry about not hearing that. Her major problem is that she is terrified of removing the hearing aid. Period. I think we'll try the car test, with one of our own helmets, not the student pro-tec, and see if she feels OK with that.
His eyes seem so glazed As he flies on the wings of a dream