NEWPORT NEWS, Va. (NNS) -- As simple as it may sound, noise is one of the most common health hazards to Sailors in the Navy. Whether serving aboard an aircraft carrier during its Refueling and Complex Overhaul (RCOH) or conducting operations in the middle of the Gulf, Sailors are exposed to noise every day.
According to the Navy Safety Center, in 2014 noise-induced hearing loss was the Navy's number one occupational health expense. The resulting consequences to the Navy from hearing loss include lost time, reduced productivity, military disability settlements and expenses for medical treatment, such as hearing aids.
During RCOH, Sailors aboard the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) are taking the lead in minimizing noise-induced hazards. A group of Lincoln Sailors assigned to the Deck Department have been trained to apply a special coating of paint on the bulkheads of some of the ship's common areas. This paint is designed to reduce noise and vibration within these spaces and will be evaluated for future use.
"The Navy has taken steps forward to reduce noise levels inside the ship in preparation for the arrival of the Joint Strike Fighter squadrons," said Lt. Cmdr. Scott Dunn, assistant safety officer aboard Lincoln. "The Office of Naval Research (ONR) has been working on ways to reduce the impact from flight deck noise on decks below."
The Lincoln's noise abatement paint team is leading the way in helping to meet the ONR goals of more noise reduction on board ships.
"One of the ways to provide some noise reduction is to coat structural and joiner bulkheads with a special paint that has been reported to reduce noise levels by about five to seven decibels (dB)," Dunn added. "This is a significant reduction. Based on the way we measure noise, about every three dB doubles the noise level.
ONR will come out and will determine the effectiveness of the coatings that Lincoln Sailors have applied in a majority of the compartments just below the flight deck."
The spray the team uses is a sound and vibration dampening paint specifically designed for marine applications.
"It's more coating than a paint. It has properties that will dampen the vibrations and noise that transmit through metal bulkheads," said Ens. Joel Newberry, Lincoln's assistant first lieutenant. "The coating is being applied to living and working spaces that are directly affected by the high-level noise caused by flight deck operations."
The ensign said he hopes this procedure will help improve living conditions on the ship for the benefit of the crew.
"This procedure helps us make those areas safer and healthier for future Lincoln Sailors," he added, referencing the decreased noise levels.
Lincoln is currently undergoing RCOH at Newport News Shipbuilding, a division of Huntington Ingalls Industries in Newport News, Va.
Lincoln is the fifth Nimitz-class ship to undergo RCOH, a major life-cycle milestone. Once RCOH is complete, Lincoln will be one of the most modern and technologically advanced Nimitz-class aircraft carriers in the fleet, and will continue to be a vital part of the nation's defense.
For more news from USS Abraham Lincoln, visit http://www.navy.mil/local/cvn72/