Noise characterization of “effective quiet” areas on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier

N. Cody Schaal*, Raushan A. Salaam, Michael Stevens, Alex Stubner

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The purpose of this investigation was to characterize noise levels in spaces designated as “effective quiet” areas on a U.S. Navy aircraft carrier. Noise dosimetry samples were collected in 15 designated spaces, representing 15 noise measurements, while at-sea during airwing carrier qualifications. Equivalent sound level (Leq) measurements were collected during flight operations (Leq (flt ops)), non-flight operations (Leq (non-flt ops)), and over 24-hr periods (Leq (24-hr)). These data were compared to the 70 dBA American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists (ACGIH®) Threshold Limit Value (TLV®) for “effective quiet” areas intended for temporary threshold shift recovery when personnel live and work in a potentially noise hazardous environment for periods greater than 24 hr. The monitored areas were selected based on personnel occupancy/use during off-duty time periods. Areas were classified by either (1) leisure areas that included mess (eating areas), gyms, lounges, an internet cafe, and the fantail social area or (2) berthing (sleeping) areas. The Leq measurements in decibels “A” weighted (dBA) were compared to determine significant differences between Leq (flt ops), Leq (non-flt ops), and Leq (24-hr) and were compared between leisure area and berthing area. Measured noise levels according to time period ranged as follows: (1) Leq (24-hr): 70.8–105.4 dBA; (2) Leq (flt ops): 70–101.2 dBA; and (3) Leq (non-flt ops): 39.4–104.6 dBA. All area measurements over the 24-hr period and during flight operations and 46.7% of the areas during the non-flight operation time period exceeded the “effective quiet” 70 dBA ACGIH TLV. Mean Leqs were 15 dBA higher during flight operations compared to non-flight operations in “effective quiet” areas (p = 0.001). The Leqs in leisure areas were significantly higher than berthing areas by approximately 21 dBA during non-flight operation periods (p = 0.001). Results suggest noise levels in “effective quiet” areas frequented by aircraft carrier personnel during off-duty hours when at-sea may inhibit auditory recovery from occupational noise exposures that occur on-duty.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-335
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene
Issue number5
StatePublished - 4 May 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • 24-hr noise exposure
  • auditory rest
  • berthing
  • flight operations
  • hearing loss
  • leisure
  • noise dosimetry


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