Noise Exposure During Alpine Helicopter Rescue Operations

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Abstract

Objectives

We estimated the noise exposure of crews working in alpine helicopter rescue systems.

Methods

Noise levels of the the helicopters used (Alouette III, Alouette II ‘Lama’, Ecureuil and BK 117) were measured with a device according to class 2 DIN IEC 651. These data were combined with the flight data of the personnel to evaluate the equivalent noise level according to DIN 45645-2.

Results and conclusions

While the risk to patients should be limited to temporary threshold shifts the crew members are regularly exposed to equivalent noise levels of >85 dB(A) and, therefore, are at risk of permanent threshold shifts. Consequences for crew fitness to fly and for noise prevention (crew and patients) are discussed.

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