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Frequently Asked Questions—Vision and Hearing

Vision and Hearing

Q. The regulations require that you be able to hear a conversational voice at 6 feet for any class of medical. Is the use of hearing aids allowed?

A. Hearing aids are acceptable for any class of medical.  Some pilots who use a hearing aid for non-flying activities actually wear only a headset when they fly and have no problem with communication. Either option is OK for the FAA. If defective hearing requires either a hearing aid or headset use, the FAA will issue a waiver that requires the use of “hearing amplification.” Your aviation medical examiner may issue a medical certificate at the time of examination with the limitation “valid only with use of hearing amplification.”

Q. I’m considering having LASIK surgery? Does the FAA allow that?

A. The FAA allows all FDA-approved refractive procedures. The most commonly performed procedure is LASIK. The recovery time after having LASIK can be anywhere from a few weeks to several months, but most patients report improvement in visual acuity and stabilization of side effects within a few days. When your visual acuity meets the medical standards for the class of medical you’re exercising, you may continue to fly until the expiration date of your current medical. At the time of renewal, you’ll need an evaluation completed by your treating physician. The AME can issue your new certificate in the office if your vision meets the standards.

Q. The aviation medical examiner placed a color vision restriction on my medical. Can I get it removed so I can fly at night?

A. Color vision limitations can be removed by successfully completing an alternative color vision test or an Operational Color Vision Test.

Updated October 28, 2009