Status: Crewmember Noise Exposures on the International Space Station



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45th International Conference on Environmental Systems


The International Space Station (ISS) provides a unique environment where crewmembers from the US and our international partners work and live for as long as 6 to 12 consecutive months. During these long-durations ISS missions, noise exposures from onboard equipment are posing concerns for human factors and crewmember health risks, such as possible reductions in hearing sensitivity, disruptions of crew sleep, interference with speech intelligibility and voice communications, interference with crew task performance, and reduced alarm audibility. It is crucial to control acoustical noise aboard ISS to acceptable noise exposure levels during the work-time period, and to also provide a restful sleep environment during the sleep-time period. Acoustic dosimeter measurements, obtained when the crewmember wears the dosimeter for 24-hour periods, are conducted onboard ISS every 60 days and compared to ISS flight rules. NASA personnel then assess the acoustic environment to which the crewmembers are exposed, and provide recommendations for hearing protection device usage. The purpose of this paper is to provide an update on the status of ISS noise exposure monitoring and hearing conservation strategies, as well as to summarize assessments of acoustic dosimeter data collected since the Increment 36 mission (April 2013). A description of the updated noise level constraints flight rule, as well as the Noise Exposure Estimation Tool and the Noise Hazard Inventory implementation for predicting crew noise exposures and recommending to ISS crewmembers when hearing protection devices are required, will be described.


Bellevue, Washington
José G. Limardo, NASA - Johnson Space Center, USA
Christopher S. Allen, NASA - Johnson Space Center, USA
Richard W. Danielson, Baylor College of Medicine, USA
The 45th International Conference on Environmental Systems was held in Bellevue, Washington, USA on 12 July 2015 through 16 July 2015.