Exposures from Headset Interference Tones
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Exposures from Headset Interference Tones

  • 1992-01-01

Filetype[PDF-716.99 KB]


  • English

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      This study evaluated the acoustic characteristics of interference tones as experienced by FAA Air Traffic Control Specialists (ATCS's) and pilots who wear headsets with insert type ear pieces. The Sound Pressure Levels (SPL's) of generated tones were measured through the headset at five randomly selected ATCS positions in each of seven Air Route Traffic Control Centers (ARTCC's). The SPL's were compared within and between four frequencies (.5, 1, 2, and 3 KHz) over ten discrete signal power levels. The comparisons demonstrated that SPL's of tones could not be predicted for ARTCC's or for positions within an ARTCC, and that the durations of exposure were brief, i.e. limited to the time needed to remove the headset earpiece from the ear canal. Potential amounts of temporary threshold shifts (TTS's) also were evaluated in a laboratory by checking hearing levels following exposures to tones played with ATCS/pilot communication through the same headset. Audiometric checks of 20 volunteer subjects indicated TTS could be detected following 1 KHz/99 dB/60 and 145 seconds, 2 KHz/108 dB/60 and 145 seconds, and 3 KHz/99 dB/145 seconds exposures, when hearing checks were made within the first 15 minutes. Such extended durations are highly unlikely for pilots and ATCS's and no TTS was detectable following exposures to shorter durations or to other frequencies with equivalent durations.
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