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Harmful Growler Noise

  • The intensity, frequency, duration, and altitude of the Growlers is a threat to public health, igniting a firestorm of protest in several counties because of the deafening and harmful noise.

  • Real-time measurements from an independent noise study taken at Ebey’s Reserve near Coupeville show damaging levels of noise, up to 115 decibels— well past the 85-decibel level that begins to cause permanent hearing loss. This study examined Growler flyover noise at five locations around OLFC while Growlers conducted FCLPs on Path 32. One site was directly under the approach over Admirals Cove and another was at a youth ballpark adjacent to and under the takeoff path. At each site, about 30 Growler flyovers were recorded and sound levels for each flyover at all outdoor sites were between 110 and 130+ dB with a maximum unweighted peak level of 134.2 dB. This level is actually higher than the average military jet aircraft take-off from 50 feet away and just 15 dB below the point of near-certain eardrum rupture.

  • Children exposed to loud noise show decreased reading comprehension, delayed development, impaired cognition, and memory loss. In 2013, the US Air Force disclosed that operations of the F-16 fighter aircraft in a Vermont neighborhood assaults children with noise sufficient to cause learning impairment and estimated that 45 percent more children will have their learning impaired if the F-35 jets are based in that neighborhood. The children of Central Whidbey are at risk.

  • moving aircraft causes compression and rarefaction, setting air molecules in motion and producing pressure waves. High-thrust engines, like those in the Growlers, emit low-frequency “windows rattling” pressure waves that penetrate into body organs and cause medical problems.

  • The Navy recognizes the dangers of jet noise and protects its pilots and ground personnel. All personnel working in such areas receive hearing protection devices and are routinely monitored for health effects. Residential areas under the OLF flight path far exceed the Navy’s threshold of a hazardous noise zone, yet civilians are left to fend for themselves.

Read more about noise issues and Growler flight expansion (Basewatch, The Evergreen State College)

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