Graduation Year


Document Type




Degree Name

MS in Public Health (M.S.P.H.)

Degree Granting Department

Public Health

Major Professor

Steven Mlynarek, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Thomas Bernard, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Rene Salazar, Ph.D.


Personal Noise Exposure, Hearing Loss, Security Forces, Air Force


Noise-related hearing loss has been listed as one of the most prevalent occupational health concerns in the United States for more than 25 years with approximately 30 million people in the US alone occupationally exposed to hazardous noise according to the Occupational Safety and Health Organization. Many people are aware of some risks the military members take every day being at war, but very few think about the risks of the members on a base located stateside. To this point, not much research has been done on these risks, and even less has been done on the hazardous noise risks these service members are subjected to. These workers typically work many days a week as well as long hours while being around loud noises for extended periods of time.

The purpose of this research study was to collect data on personal noise exposure for security forces at multiple locations at MacDill Air Force Base (AFB) to compare the results with the Air Force Occupational and Environmental Exposure Limit (OEEL) of 85 dBA for an 8-hour time weighted average (TWA) and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s (OSHA) Permissible Exposure Limit (PEL) of 90 dBA for an 8-hour TWA. Personal noise dosimeters were used for collecting personal noise exposure, and sound level meters were used for collecting area noise exposure. A Lieutenant at MacDill offered the data she was at liberty to divulge on the security forces for this study. Dosimetry testing was done at four locations, and sound level surveys were done at two locations, with one of the locations being tested by both, dosimeters and a sound level meter.

The results from this study show that the highest area noise is on the 26 ft Aluminum Boat at the helm with the sirens on while the boat moves at 25 knots with a noise level at 101.2 dBA, and the highest personal noise exposure was at the CATM section with an 8-hour TWA of 108.9 dBA. When taking the Air Force OEEL (>85 dBA) into account, three of the four locations were overexposed to noise hazards using personal noise dosimetry, but only one of the four locations were overexposed to noise hazards using personal noise dosimetry when using the OSHA PEL (>90 dBA).