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Undersea Hyperb Med. 2015 Mar-Apr;42(2):151-8.

Noise exposure of commercial divers in the Norwegian Sector of the North Sea.


It is well known that exposure to high noise levels can adversely affect human hearing. Legislation exists in Europe to control or restrict the level of noise to which employees may be exposed during the course of their work. While the noise levels to which a worker may be exposed is well defined in air, human sensitivity to noise is different in high-pressure and mixed-gas conditions. Relatively little research exists to define human hearing in these circumstances, and few measurements exist of the levels of noise to which divers working in these conditions are exposed. A study using specially designed equipment has been undertaken in Norwegian waters to sample the noise levels present during typical saturation dives undertaken by commercial divers working in the Norwegian oil and gas industry. The divers were working in heliox at depths of 30 msw and 120 msw. It found noise levels were generally dominated by self-noise: flow noise while breathing and communications. The noise levels, both when corrected for the difference in hearing sensitivity under pressure in mixed gas and uncorrected, would exceed legislated limits for noise exposure in a working day without the use of noisy tools.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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