Current issues of the occupational sensorineural hearing loss evaluation in airline pilots
Occupational hearing loss in the civilian flight crew members prevails in the structure of occupational hearing loss. The study was aimed to assess errors made in forensic evaluation of flight personnel with hearing loss. A total of 213 definitive diagnoses of occupational hearing loss established in 2015–2021 were assessed. Expert errors were found in 73% of cases. The most common, typical errors were reported that were evident in 12 cases submitted for forensic evaluation. The main errors were as follows: incorrect assessment of the parameters of noise inside the aircraft cabin, lack of knowledge about the clinical and audiological features of noise-induced hearing loss, incorrect assessment of audiological indicators, underestimation of the role of comorbidities, etc. The findings showed that high proportion of occupational hearing loss in the civilian flight crew members was in large part due to imperfection of expert solutions resulting from the lack of knowledge about the basic criteria of the diagnosis and the relationship between the noise-induced hearing loss and profession. The major requirements for evaluation of the relationship between the noise-induced hearing loss and profession and the issues related to professional suitability set out in the current regulatory documents issued by the Ministry of Health of the Russian Federation and seminal publications were not taken into account. The cornerstones of expert work on the issues of the relationship between the hearing organ disorder and profession in the civilian flight crew members were underestimated. This resulted in unsubstantiated professional unsuitability, disability among working-age people, and economic losses.
Keywords: airline pilots, occupational sensorineural hearing loss, expertise, professional suitability