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Meinke, Deanna K

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Noise exposure measurements, snowmobiler riding habits, and surveys addressing the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs about noise induced hearing loss (NIHL) were collected on 10 recreational snowmobilers. Participants included two females and eight males with the mean age of 53.9 (+14.07) years old, and ages ranging from 28-70 years. Noise exposure measurements were collected on a typical riding day with QuietDose™ noise dosimetry microphones placed under the helmet of the snowmobiler (Howard Leigh [QuietDose™], 2011). The snowmobilers traveled an average of 51.34 miles (± 10.62 miles) per day during data collection. Riding times ranged from 3 hours and 38 minutes to 8 hours and 50 minutes per day, including breaks. Seventy percent of participants (n = 7) exceeded the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) action level (AL) of 85 dBA time weighted average (TWA) (50% dose). The OSHA permissible exposure level (PEL) protocol samples reveal a mean noise dose of 63.6% (+.2%) with a TWA of 86.17 (+3.1) dBA. One participant (10%) exceeded 100% dose (90 dBA TWA) for the OSHA PEL protocol. The mean noise dose for the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) protocol was 472.3% (+2.2%) and a mean TWA of 91.17 (+2.3) dBA. All participants were over-exposed when referencing the NIOSH REL. The health communication survey results suggest that 50% of the riders felt a helmet was protective from hazardous noise and that hearing protectors may be underutilized due to the cost, communication and comfort barriers. Results suggest a need for more educational information on hearing loss from hazardous noise levels and how participants can protect themselves from the risk of NIHL. It is recommended that recreational snowmobilers be enrolled in a HLPP that provides for noise exposure measurement, audiometric monitoring, hearing protection device selection, fitting and verification as well as educational content specific to the sport.


Noise -- Physiological effect; Audiometry; Snowmobiling


96 pages

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