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Free Content Middle Ear Resonance Frequency in Pilots and Pilot Candidates

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BACKGROUND: Barotrauma is a frequent problem in aviation medicine. Eustachian tube dysfunction plays a critical role in the pathogenesis of barotrauma. Function of the Eustachian tube can be indirectly assessed by multifrequency tympanometry, which provides valuable information about the resistance and permeability of the middle ear in a wide frequency range. The aim of this study was to research whether multifrequency tympanometry could be used for assessing middle ear impairments in pilots.

METHODS: There were 140 pilots and pilot candidates between the ages of 20–55 with normal otoscopic examination who were evaluated by audiological test batteries. Body mass index values, flight hours, audiometric pure tone thresholds, tympanometry and multifrequency tympanometry test results were noted.

RESULTS: There was statistically significant decrease in the multifrequency tympanometry measurements of the left and right ears of the pilots with 200–3000 flight hours compared to pilot candidates, and similarly, the pilots with 3000–10,000 flight hours compared to pilot candidates.

DISCUSSION: Multifrequency tympanometry values changed between pilot candidates and pilots. However, the values of multifrequency tympanometry did not change due to flight hours. This test battery should not be used for follow up of pilots in the clinic.

Tuncer MM, Babakurban ST, Aydin E. Middle ear resonance frequency in pilots and pilot candidates. Aerosp Med Hum Perform. 2016; 87(10):876–881.

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Keywords: Eustachian tube; Multifrequency tympanometry; aerotitis media; barotrauma; tympanometry

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2016

More about this publication?
  • This journal (formerly Aviation, Space, and Environmental Medicine), representing the members of the Aerospace Medical Association, is published monthly for those interested in aerospace medicine and human performance. It is devoted to serving and supporting all who explore, travel, work, or live in hazardous environments ranging from beneath the sea to the outermost reaches of space. The original scientific articles in this journal provide the latest available information on investigations into such areas as changes in ambient pressure, motion sickness, increased or decreased gravitational forces, thermal stresses, vision, fatigue, circadian rhythms, psychological stress, artificial environments, predictors of success, health maintenance, human factors engineering, clinical care, and others. This journal also publishes notes on scientific news and technical items of interest to the general reader, and provides teaching material and reviews for health care professionals.

    To access volumes 74 through 85, please click here.
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