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Characterization of 24-Hour Noise Exposures Among U.S. Navy Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier Personnel Not Enrolled in the Hearing Conservation Program

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Technical Report

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Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences Bethesda United States

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Background Personnel working in an operational shipboard environment on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier are exposed to a variety of noise hazardous equipment andhazardous noise from flight deck operations. While at sea, work shifts commonly exceed standard 8-hour shifts, reaching durations of 12 hours or more. Personnel with noise exposures less than 85 decibels A weighted dBA, may be at high risk of noise exposure because areas designated for sleeping and relaxation may be adjacent to shipboard noise hazardous operations. The objective of this study was to characterize 24-hour noise exposure profiles for U.S. Navy Nimitz class aircraft carrier personnel not enrolled in the Department of Defense DoD Hearing Conservation Program HCP. Methods A total of 45 noise dosimetry samples were collected from personnel not included in the DoD HCP during 24-hour periods while at sea during airwing carrier qualifications. Noise measurements were compared to the EPA 24-hour 70 dBA environmental exposure recommendation. Four homogenous exposure groups HEGs were created based upon departmental assignment and task and included AdministrationReligious MinistriesLegalTraining, Combat SystemsOperations, MedicalDental, and Supply. HEGs were then analyzed and compared to determine if there were significant differences between 24-hour noise exposures between HEGs. Results A total of 97.8 of the noise dosimetry samples exceeded the EPA environmental noise recommendation of 70 dBA. Combat SystemsOperations had significantly higher noise exposures than MedicalDental p0.014 and Supply p0.04 with an overall mean noise exposure of 79.6 dBA. Personnel assigned to work spaces directly below the flight deck had significantly higher average noise exposures compared to personnel working on lower decks.

Subject Categories:

  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Anatomy and Physiology

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