It is important to recognize excessive noise as a threat to unprotected ears and utilize hearing protection when appropriate, such as when on the ramp. Noise is associated with so many normal daily activities, we may not think of it as a danger. The body gives us few signs when damage occurs. There is no pain, bruising, or bleeding normally associated with advancement of hearing loss. Noise-induced hearing loss occurs very slowly, usually over many months or years. Hearing can be compromised before most people recognize the serious consequences of unprotected exposure to excessive noise (FAM 7.100 Page 3).
To help you conserve your hearing the AFA ASHSC (Air Safety Health & Security Committee) has worked with Inflight management to develop the following program to make custom hearing protection widely available to Flight Attendants:
- Flight Attendants will be reimbursed half the cost of custom in-ear hearing protection (including third party impressions, taxes and shipping) up to a maximum reimbursable amount of $80. For example:
- If the total cost is $170, the Company will reimburse you $80 and you will be responsible for $90.
- If the total cost is $70, the Company will reimburse you $35 and you will be responsible for $35.
- Instruction and order forms for approved custom hearing may be requested from Inflight or found on the AFA website https://afaalaska.org/ashsc/hearing (this page). Only the pre approved model and filter/color configurations are eligible.
- To be reimbursed submit an expense report to your manager (use account code 50012) with receipts for the hearing protection, third party impressions, taxes and shipping.
- Flight Attendants may submit for reimbursement of new custom hearing protection once every two years.
- There are no restrictions on when approved custom hearing protection may be worn.
There are two approved venders for custom hearing protection. Procurement instructions are below.
Custom Protect Ears’ db Blockers
This is a Canadian company who makes hearing custom hearing protection which is more discreet, and they claim, more comfortable than the competition. Retail price is $219; price for AFA Members at Alaska is $154 (company will reimburse 50% of this amount per program guidelines).
To order db Blockers:
- Download the db Blocker order form and impression guide.
- Take the form to a hearing professional and ask them to take impressions per the instruction on the order form.
- Ask the hearing professional to package the impressions for shipping.
- Mail the impressions and the order form to the address listed on the order from.
- Once they receive the impressions they will contact you to arrange payment.
Hocks’ Noise Braker
This is the brand previously made available by Inflight. Hocks is a Portland based company. Retail price if purchased directly from Hocks is $120; price for AFA members at Alaska is $60 (company will reimburse 50% of this amount per program guidelines). Orders will incur a $6.50 charge for shipping on top of the retail price.
You have two options for ordering Hocks:
If you are in the Portland area make an appointment to visit them at their Portland facility by calling (503) 274-9482. Download and bring the Hocks order form to your appointment.
- Download the Hocks order form and impression guide.
- Take the form to a hearing professional and ask them to take impressions. The hearing professional will charge you to make the impressions so call ahead to see what they charge.
- Ask the hearing professional to package the impressions for shipping (they must be in a box to prevent damage).
- Mail the impressions and the order form to Hocks’ address which is listed on the order from.
- Once Hocks receives the impressions they will call you to arrange payment.
- Your Hocks will be mailed to the shipping address you listed on the order form
It is recommend that you call the hearing professional (hearing aid dealer, ENT clinic, or audiologist) before visiting to ensure they are able/willing to make impressions for third party products and to find out what they charge.
Ensure ears are clean before getting impressions. If you believe you may have wax build up in your ears check with a medical provider to have ears cleaned or for information about how to safely clean your ears.