How much noise is too much?

I would like to clarify issues regarding the effects of noise exposure, particularly from the Navy jets.

Exposure Time Guidelines
Accepted standards for recommended permissible exposure time for continuous time weighted average noise, according to NIOSH and CDC, 2002. For every 3 dBAs over 85dBA, the permissible exposure time before possible damage can occur is cut in half.


85dB/ 8 Hours
88dB/ 4 Hours
91dB/ 2 Hours
94dB/ 1 Hour
97dB/ 30 Minutes
100dB/ 15 Minutes
103dB/ 7.5 Minutes
106dB/ 3.75 Minutes
109dB/ 1.875 Minutes
112dB/ .9375 Minutes
115dB /.46875 Minutes

The above chart explains, quite clearly, how much noise + length of time one can be exposed to noise before possible/probable damage to hearing will occur. The damage will occur at the higher frequencies first then affect the mid and low frequencies. At the higher frequencies we hear the consonants of the English language thus perceiving clarity . In other words people with high frequency hearing loss state that others are “mumbling.” Usually they even deny hearing loss because they hear “perfectly fine” without any increase in volume because the low frequencies have yet to be affected.

The noise maps that we have seen from the Navy show levels anywhere from 30-75 (dB?) which is a Day/Night average. Almost all citizens have no grasp of what day/night averaging means. It is a somewhat more complicated formula that the US Navy uses to explain the amount of damaging noise level we may be exposed to. Unfortunately this is not the case since hearing loss and tinnitus does NOT occur as a day/night average but occurs in REAL time. For citizens to politicize hearing loss is a disservice to our veterans, military personal and private citizens. Hearing loss is a health issue and is recognized as a non-visible, isolating handicap.
It is time to close Coupeville’s Outlying Field.

Marianne Brabanski, MS
Audiologist (ret.)

This is from our lawsuit:

A-weight noise levels reached 119.2 dBA with the unweighted peak level at 134.2 dB. During one 4O-minute session there were 35 jet flyovers which produced an average SEL of 113.1 dBA. At the four outside locations JGL recorded, the decibel levels varied from 113 to 119 dB, the latter being in Admiral’s Cove, the most densely populated location examined. Rhododendron Park, where families visit to watch the kids play ball, was just behind that.

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