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kilranian

Hearing loss: Con to audibles?

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Good evening, All.

As my first (hopefully) productive post to the DZ forums, I would like to propose a topic for discussion, as well as air my purely selfish motivation.

First, back-story: I started jumping in September, and just submitted for my A license. I bought my own gear through DZ and other used/new, including a ProTrack audible. The ProTrack makes for an amazing freefall computer, but I believe I have a unique "problem" in the skydiving world.

I have nearly always worn earplugs when appropriate, and I still have most of my hearing. The ProTrack is designed for a legally deaf war vet. Of course this is basically a good thing for an audible, and I have it set on Low volume and have since day one. I've even tried putting it in backwards in my helmet (merely uncomfortable). After five jumps with it, I can already notice my hearing getting worse on one side, especially higher-pitches.

What can be done?

One idea would be a visual altimeter, such as the Optima 1 or 2 with the LED port. Before I go blowing the money on some blinky lights, though, I'd like to tap the tree of the tree/hivemind on DZ.

What do you all think?

tl;dr

My ProTrack is too loud, even on Low. I'm a wuss and want to keep my hearing. What can be done?

Edit: And if this is more appropriate in the gear forums, please move. I thought it would make for an interesting safety topic.

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I've worried about my hearing as well. I don't have an audible, but am concerned with cabin noise in the plane and wind noise in freefall.

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I wear Earplugs on all jumps for that exact reason (plane noise, freefall noise, audible noise)



Does that give you any issues with pressure changes when you pull them out?

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I wear them all the time too, with no issue whatsoever on either RW loads or high hop and pops. I've worn them with open face and fullface helmets.

I find I focus better without all the distracting noise, too. I can hear conversation on the plane if I pay attention, and while I haven't heard anyone yell at me under canopy, I'm pretty sure it's because no one has had to; knowing I have earplugs in means I look around pretty constantly.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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I wear Earplugs on all jumps for that exact reason (plane noise, freefall noise, audible noise)



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Does that give you any issues with pressure changes when you pull them out?



I have started jumping with earplugs. Here are the key things:

- air pressure equalizes inside your head, not outside your head, so earplugs do not affect this process (as far as I know, there are no natural holes in the ear-drum for the air to pass thru) - please correct me if I am wrong. Watch the below video (disable AdBlock first, if you have one):
http://video.about.com/pediatrics/Ear-Pressure.htm

- buy the highest NRR rated ear-plugs (NRR33 is the highest one possible). BUT, not all NRR33 rated earplugs block the same amount of noise at DIFFERENT frequencies. I have done a lots of research the 'Moldex' disposable foam earplugs (used in NASCAR) are THE BEST. Check the dB table in the PDF for a given model:
http://www.moldex.com/hearing-protection/foam-earplugs/

- do not reuse foam earplugs. 'One jump-one pair' will keep you away from ear infections

- buy the CORDED version. That way, you can remove the earplugs from underneath the helmet, after the opening, by pulling the cord (tuck it neatly under the helmet for freefall). With earplugs removed under canopy, you will not be deaf during the canopy collisions and command exchange with another jumper ('you cutaway!', etc)

- freefall noise is over 120 dB, airplane can be over 100 dB, Optima is 120 dB. On an average skydiving day you are exceeding your daily noise quota (measured in minutes) many, many times, permanently damaging your hearing

- there is no cure for deafness (apart from hearing aids...), or for tinnitus (constant 'ringing in the ears')

- set your Optima canopy alarms to Volume "1", and the far-most left pitch (if you take your earplugs out, under canopy)

- once you fly the airplane and jump wearing the earplugs, you will not want to do it again without them. It is like jumping with and without goggles

- you are less worn-out after the day of skydiving

- you can actually hear people BETTER in the airplane (the 'bad' engine noise is canceled, and the human voice is filtered and passed thru - pretty neat, huh? :-) )

- read this whole thread:
http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?do=post_view_flat;post=4059225;page=1;mh=-1;;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC

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Cool! Great info y'all, thanks.

I'll definitely be jumping with hearing protection. I have some washable rubber "ear pro" given to me by the generous Uncle Sam. Should be helpful for now.

I may look into getting custom molded hearing protection, as I have a lot of high-noise hobbies.

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- air pressure equalizes inside your head, not outside your head, so earplugs do not affect this process (as far as I know, there are no natural holes in the ear-drum for the air to pass thru) - please correct me if I am wrong. Watch the below video (disable AdBlock first, if you have one):
http://video.about.com/pediatrics/Ear-Pressure.htm



I can't view the video, but some ear plugs prevent your ability to clear your ears.

http://www.diversalertnetwork.org/medical/articles/article.asp?articleid=33

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Dr. Allen Dekelboum, an ENT and DAN consulting physician in California, reiterated the common view that earplugs create an air pocket in the ear canal, preventing equalization and resulting in differences in the pressure between the water and a diver's ear canal. This situation could lead to serious injury, he said.



I know it's for scuba diving, but it is the same idea. If you're going to use them, use vented ones.
"I may be a dirty pirate hooker...but I'm not about to go stand on the corner." iluvtofly
DPH -7, TDS 578, Muff 5153, SCR 14890
I'm an asshole, and I approve this message

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Dr. Allen Dekelboum, an ENT and DAN consulting physician in California, reiterated the common view that earplugs create an air pocket in the ear canal, preventing equalization and resulting in differences in the pressure between the water and a diver's ear canal. This situation could lead to serious injury, he said.



From gthe same article:
"With an intact tympanic membrane, the increasing water pressure against the earplug and the decreasing volume of air between the plug and the tympanic membrane would have a tendency to drive the plug against the TM," Dekelboum said. "The increasing water pressure also could wedge the plug in the ear canal. If this occurs, there is risk of external ear barotrauma."

I don't think skydiving would create such forces. BTW, I have read that the pressure difference between 0 ft and 13,000 ft of air is the same like between 0 ft and 10 ft of water. So, skydivers only "dive" in 10 feet of water, with the earplugs.

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After five jumps with it, I can already notice my hearing getting worse on one side, especially higher-pitches.


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Put a layer or two of gaffers tape over the beeper hole, make sure to leave the sensor hole open.











~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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just to give an plus for everything skydiverek, Twardo and others posted inhere.

I´m using earplugs from the second free fall jump and I´ll keep using them till my very last jump.

It´s interesting thing that with the earplugs I have now I can even hear ppl talking during the free fall :D because the noise is damped more than a human voice. It´s so funny thing :D

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just to give an plus for everything skydiverek, Twardo and others posted inhere.

I´m using earplugs from the second free fall jump and I´ll keep using them till my very last jump.

It´s interesting thing that with the earplugs I have now I can even hear ppl talking during the free fall :D because the noise is damped more than a human voice. It´s so funny thing :D




THAT'S the reason I don't use earplugs...the voices in my head would drive me...crazy!










~ If you choke a Smurf, what color does it turn? ~

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im deaf in one ear already, and i use a regular foam earplug in the good ear up to altitude, before the fullface goes on i take the plug out. ive been jumping like this for a while with no problems. i use an optima2 audible and turn it around so the beeper hole points away from my ear. i have made the mistake of putting the audible in facing my ear and damn that sucked! being deaf in one ear makes your good ear compensate for the deaf one, so i have super sensative hearing in the one good one i still got.
Flock University FWC / ZFlock
B.A.S.E. 1580
Aussie BASE 121

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After five jumps with it, I can already notice my hearing getting worse on one side


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and the wind noise in freefall is not an issue?



I'll add my own experience similar to what folks above have said.

I didn't jump with an audible (or earplugs) until around 100 jumps. When my gear came (a NeoXS audible,) I tried out the 3 volume levels in my helmet while on the ground and decided that level 1 was plenty loud and feared for my hearing at the other two. On my next jump, I didn't hear the audible at all until I pitched, and that meant that the freefall wind was enough to drown out the "already very loud" audible. I was so concerned about my hearing that I put in earplugs for my very next jump.

I've been jumping with earplugs ever since, and set my audible on level 2 (of 3.) While I can still hear it on level 1 with earplugs, it's easier to hear on level 2 and in no way painful. I'm using some of the disposable "Laser Lite" foam earplugs you can buy in bulk for about $0.10 a pair.

Under canopy I use my Neptune2 for canopy alarms on the "loud" setting (designed to be heard when worn on the wrist as a visual.) I have no problem hearing my Neptune from my wrist with the earplugs in.

I have no problem with ear pressure - on the way up it's similar to flying commercial and I "yawn" my jaw only when I need to (I find I don't usually have to think about it as it's rarely an issue.) On the way down it's never been a problem.

As others have said, it's actually easier to hear people in the plane, and the engine noise is vastly reduced as well. Just beware of shouting to your friends on the ground or before takeoff.
--
Radio

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http://www.dropzone.com/cgi-bin/forum/gforum.cgi?do=post_view_flat;post=4059225;page=1;sb=post_latest_reply;so=ASC;mh=25;

Hi,
There's lots of good info, & some good vid links in the above thread. Freefall noise is about 130dB. L&B Solo/Optima audibles are 120 & 115/120dB, respectively. I contacted L&B a while back. I asked if their audibles could be hacked to lower the volume. They said "No." They suggested what has already been said, here. Turn the unit around in the helmet, & stick gaffer's tape over the hole. I don't have an audible, yet. Their suggestion should work fine, though.

I have hearing loss & Tinnitus. I'm also hypersensitive to loud noise. I always jump w/earplugs. I buy decent disposable foam plugs. They're good for 33NRR, I believe. When I do buy an audible. I'm sure some Gaffer's tape will do me fine. The ProTrack is a good unit. I wouldn't sell it.

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NRR-24 - quite low...



My experience has been that the performance of those earplugs is excellent for what we need. Many other experienced jumpers in the thread I linked agreed. I really like that I can put them on very early in the gearing up process/take them off late, and not hinder my ability to hear others - dirt dive/debrief/listening for others coming in to land/hearing someone yell at me under canopy.
People are sick and tired of being told that ordinary and decent people are fed up in this country with being sick and tired. I’m certainly not, and I’m sick and tired of being told that I am

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What can be done?


My ProTrack is too loud, even on Low. I'm a wuss and want to keep my hearing. What can be done?


I wear Earplugs on all jumps for that exact reason (plane noise, freefall noise, audible noise)



Me too.
...

The only sure way to survive a canopy collision is not to have one.

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Once again the moderators here have chosen to delete a bunch of perfectly innocent messages. So now it's time for some payback once again. Tsk tsk. It's too bad they continue this program of self-induced punishment. It would be so easy if they just left those innocent messages alone, and public. But, when they fucka wit me, I fucka wit them. So here we go again.

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