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Guide for Aviation Medical Examiners

Decision Considerations - Aerospace Medical Dispositions
Item 49. Hearing

  1. Special Issuance of Medical Certificates. Applicants who do not meet the auditory standards may be found eligible for a SODA. An applicant seeking a SODA must make the request in writing to the Aerospace Medicine Certification Division, AAM-300. A determination of qualifications will be made on the basis of a special medical examination by an ENT consultant, a MFT, or operational experience.
  2. Bilateral Deafness. See Items 25-30. If otherwise qualified, when the student pilot's instructor confirms the student's eligibility for a private pilot checkride, the applicant should submit a written request to the AMCD for an authorization for a MFT. This test will be given by an FAA inspector in conjunction with the checkride. If the applicant successfully completes the test, the FAA will issue a third-class medical certificate and SODA. Pilot activities will be restricted to areas in which radio communication is not required.
  3. Hearing Aids. If the applicant requires the use of hearing aids to meet the standard, issue the certificate with the following restriction:


    Some pilots who normally wear hearing aids to assist in communicating while on the ground report that they elect not to wear them while flying. They prefer to use the volume amplification of the radio headphone. Some use the headphone on one ear for radio communication and the hearing aid in the other for cockpit communications.

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