The FAA has issued an Information for Operators (InFo) that advises pilots who use noise-canceling headsets of the potential for missing audible alarms and other sounds.
While the InFo is intended for commercial operations, the warning is just as important for GA pilots.
It notes that noise-canceling headsets use a combination of padding and electronic means to block noise. While the noise-canceling headsets have many beneficial effects, such as providing clearer communications, reduced pilot fatigue, and added comfort, electronic attenuation of important environmental sounds and alarms may occur, the advisory notes.
The FAA warns that the headsets may make it difficult for pilots to hear abnormal mechanical noises or engine sounds, audible alarms, vibrations or wind noises and other aircraft during ground operations.
The FAA recommends that pilots shop the available headsets on the market, evaluating them not only on the ground, but also in flight during normal operating conditions “to ascertain if any audible alarms or other environmental sounds, or combinations thereof, can be detected while electronic noise attenuation is on and active.”
If you can’t hear what you need to hear, FAA officials add, you need to find other solutions to hear alarms or abnormal sounds or discontinue using noise-canceling headsets.
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