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Single Engine cockpit noise level; is one airplane quieter than others?


I’ve some problem with ears, tinnitus hyperacousis that increased last may, due to some music concert high level in a restaurant (while i had some ear mold for protection!)
I’ve 230hours of flight and fly since 10years with no problems with my Clarity Aloft headset, but now a have problem when i fly more than 30 minutes, my tinnitus ringing in my ears increase and it take days to get better only for a 1hour flight.
It’s just like noise is too lound for me.

I’ve tried a bose A20 active cancelling headphone plus some ear mold “Passtop N3” (made for industry) it’s the most powerful combination of protection i could found. Now i will try only passive headset as some people told me that active noise reduction can cause troubles to some peoples ?

In some american forum some pilot says that Pipers Warrior and arrow maybe can have quieter cockpit, any pilot here agree with that ?

For information i’ve measured cockpit in Cessna 172 160HP and it’s from 91dB to 93dB.

LFMD, France

I find the DA40NG (Diesel) to be pretty quiet.

has a Beagle...
LOWG Graz Austria

Did you seek medical advice yet? As far as I understand your post the tinnitus existed before may already but didn’t cause you problems while flying. Now it does. There may be more treatment options available. Best seek out a specialist (otolaryngeologist aka “ear, nose and throat doctor”) in the field for further advice.

Novice pilot
EDDV Hannover

Yes tinnitus existed before but increased last may. The problem is more hyperacousis in fact.
I saw 4 differents otolaryngeologist but there is no medecine to solve this. Could be treatment for long time (1-2years) keeping ear phones with white noise to help ears to accept noise.

LFMD, France

All avgas SEPs I’ve been in made a very similar noise in the cockpit. The SR22 was perhaps the most noisy of them, by a small margin.

The only real gains are

  • diesels are significantly quieter, and the DA42 very noticeably so
  • big pressurised twins can be much quieter; the Cessna 421 being so quiet you almost don’t need a headset
  • if you must have a propeller, pressurised turboprops are the best

I don’t know anything about tinnitus but almost everybody has it to some degree, especially as they get older. I believe the cause is a mystery. It sets up a “noise floor” below which you can’t hear normal sounds. Many years ago I used to visit an osteopath who claimed to be able to fix tinnitus in some cases, by applying pressure at some points on the skull.

The highest performance noise reduction methodology is to have earplugs (preferably proper acoustic ones which are wideband, not just lumps of foam which attenuate mostly high frequencies) in conjunction with a headset which is driven to produce a higher volume to compensate for the earplugs. That headset doesn’t have to be ANR although that obviously helps.

An ANR headset should not whistle etc; only the crap ones do that – like one I bought in my early days – Pilot Industries or some such.

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Just my general feeling, is that the Arrow is louder at take off and maybe also climb settings, but the abit quieter, that the Warrior/Archer. Cessnas was so long ago, so I don’t dare to say anything there. If anything, I would say a Cirrus is louder than my Arrow, but the difference vary with engine and prop choice.

I am a very satisfied user of BOSE A20s…and with the correct settings…it becomes quite silent in cruise…especially if you fly at a lower prop setting, let’s say 2300 rpm.

ESOW, Sweden

Obviously noise levels vary but the only GA planes I have seen with a very low noise level are light jets. With the headset on I was not able to tell if the engine was already running.

if you must have a propeller, pressurised turboprops are the best

Even the PA46 Meridian is quite noisy inside. To me what makes a big difference is if the electrics of the plane are properly shielded/grounded. Many or even most GA planes have horrible emissions from the alternator which even the ANR headset will not cancel out.

horrible emissions from the alternator which even the ANR headset will not cancel out.

Well, no, if the stuff is coming up via the headset cable

Shoreham EGKA, United Kingdom

Origins of Tinitus can be degenerative,ischaemic,acoustic trauma,continous exposure to loud sound,self igniting stimulation of acoustic nerve probing or even mysterious.
I do suffer from Tinitus 5 years now and I know I pay my dues fo loud sax playing ,decades of motorcycling and aviation.Byproduct of it, is transient hypoacousia.It can also start anytime during nightsleep without exterior reason.
When I had first purchased my C172 from Germany,it had the Gomolzig low noise exhaust and the cabin noise was very pleasant.Later I dropped this exhaust and put a high performance Power Flow which gave me 20Hp more and better range and consumption.But the noise was …Oh boy ! Doctor Fraport put me down from that decadent hobby but Tinitus still remains !


The quietest aeroplane I’ve flown was a diesel Robin DR400 (factory demonstrator pre Thielert crisis). Contributing factors were a quiet engine (diesel), low rpm (cs propeller), wooden airframe (transmits less noise).

I did some testing with a free app before my daughter’s first flight, and decibel levels in the low 90s sounds right. The only thing that made a (small) difference was decreasing rpm.

An instructor said he had noticed hearing loss, but that A20s made a big difference. This was deafness rather than tinnitus.

Flying alone I switch off the intercom: I think it’s unshielded as you can hear some of the electrical equipment clicking, crackling, whining or humming in the background. It’s interesting turning off switches to find out what item makes what noise. Switching off the magnetos will make the biggest difference joking aside, modern motorgliders are very fast.

EGHP-LFQF-KCLW, United Kingdom
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