Sunday, April 18, 2010

Medicals and Phones

On Saturday, the 17th of April, I had been to a hospital for my medical checks. Most of my friends jumped with concern, and I had to put them back in their seats with, "Its for flying".

To go flying, you need to be medically fit. getting your medicals, including Class 1, can take a long time, so the earlier you start, the better it is.

What I got done was a series of medical examinations that are required for a Class 2 medical (the requirement to get a Class 1 : the highest medical certificate for flying; mandatory for a CPL). Presenting these reports to a DGCA (The governing body for Civil Aviation, in India) approved Class 2 medical examiner will begin a probably long process in getting yourself a "file" with that body.

The medical investigations that you need to conduct can be found on DGCA's website or any other. What I want you to see, and probably "hear" is the effect of mobile phones on your medical fitness.

An audiometry test was conducted on me yesterday, called a Pure Tone Audiogram. While I am unaware of the technicalities on how the test is performed from an operators standpoint, I can tell you what the results show.

The results depict the sensitivity of your ears against frequency. Its a logarithmic graph, on the X axis, and a decibel scale on the Y axis. The way you must interpret the decibel scale is:

0 dB : 1 X (times) the expected sensitivity
-20 dB : 0.1 X the expected sensitivity
-40 dB : 0.01 X the expected sensitivity
-60 dB : 0.001 X the expected sensitivity

What the doctor said was that sensitivity as poor as -50dB (0.0032 X the expected sensitivity) is "normal". Take a look at my ear response. The red line is my right ear, the blue line my left ear.

Notice how at 4000Hz, my left ear's response is 20dB below my right ear's response at the same frequency (circled in grey). Which means, at this frequency, my right ear is only 0.1 as sensitive as my right ear.

Before generating the report, a doctor knocked of my 6000Hz data (which I have inserted in brown). It too was 20dB below my right ear, in sensitivity.

Post test, the doctor sat down with me, and got to hear my habits, which were responsible for this.

Phone on the left ear.

Its as simple as that. I don't listen to music on my iPod, nor head-bang to metal. One simple phone, calls and calls, and there goes my hearing. Kaput.

If you want to preserve your hearing, I suggest you keep off the phone as much as possible. Or listen with both ears in a silent place with a low speaker volume.

Unless of course, you would want to turn deaf to all that your captain shouts at you.


DGCA Website links:

List of Class 2 medical examiners in India :

Almost anything and everything on medical requirements :

For anything else, drop a comment at