When sharing the joy of flight with others, pilots should make sure to provide adequate hearing protection to their passengers. By reducing undesired noise, hearing protection allows passengers to more easily enjoy the splendor of general aviation (GA). Of all aerial companions, children require special attention to ensure their ears are adequately protected.
All fliers, regardless of age, are susceptible to the harmful effects of aircraft engine noise. Unlike adults, children are sometimes unable to manage their ear protection without assistance. To meet the unique needs of children, pilots should consider the value of youth-size aircraft headset models.
Aviation earphones are great devices because they allow wearers to both hear and speak without training against cockpit noise. Children are also likely to enjoy the novelty of wearing “real pilot” equipment. Have an extra headset? Is your old pair of headphones a staple of your flight bag? Not so fast. Child-size heads require child-size protection.
A normal size spare headset is fine for adult passengers but will not do much good for prepubescent co-pilots. In order to provide adequate noise protection, the ear seals must fit securely against the wearer's ears. Even at its smallest setting, an adult-size headband is unilaterally to provide the necessary tight fit. Beside, you do not want junior struggling just to balance an oversize set of headphones on his noggin. A youth-size model will allow a comfortable fit and block unwanted motor sound.
In addition to a secure earcup fit, a child-size pair of earphones will maintain the microphone at an appropriate position to be heard. With a regular-size model, you risk letting the microphone dangle eight inches below a child's chin, well out of range to register any attempt to communicate. With the particular needs of children, you'll want to be sure you can easily informed of any noteworthy developments. 5,500 feet is not the place to discover you've missed repeated requests for a potty break.
What about earplugs? Will not those do the trick? For short, infrequent trips, earplugs are a better option than an oversize headset or nothing at all. However, children can be fairly sensitive to altitude-associated pressure changes. By placing foam plugs in the ear canals, you risk impeding the Eustachian tube's attempts to equalize internal and atmospheric pressure. For frequent trips with young passengers, invest in an appropriate size aviation headset.
Child-size headsets are comparably priced to equivalent adult models. The chief difference between the two is the size of the headband, with the youth-size band permitting a tighter earcup seal on small heads. Children's models are available in a variety of colors and often permit audio and mobile phone connections, great options to combat aerial boredom. As children grow, youth-sized headbands can be upgraded to adult-size replacements. Some headset companies even offer the conversion band at no charge.
Do not subject your pint-size passengers to hazardous aircraft noise levels. Invest in a quality youth-size aircraft headset to protect their hearing. As these co-pilots grow, you always have the option to upgrade to an adult-size headband. By protecting their hearing now, you'll better allow them to share your passion for the wonder of aviation.