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ISS Is Deafening Astronauts

Six years after launch, the International Space Station’s living quarters are still noisier than they should be. Now Russian news reports say that astronaut Bill McArthur and cosmonaut Valery Tokarev returned from their six-month stay aboard the ISS in April 2006 with some hearing loss.

NASA will not discuss the health of individual astronauts, but spokesperson Kylie Clem told New Scientist: “It’s not an impedance to operations or crew health or safety. It’s more of a comfort level issue.”

Former astronaut Jay Buckey, now at Dartmouth Medical School in Hanover, New Hampshire, US, says that both temporary and permanent hearing loss were recorded after flights on the Soviet and Russian Salyut and Mir stations, even for stays as short as seven days. The lost hearing was usually at higher frequencies.

The living quarters of the ISS are the Russian Zvezda module, which is the noisiest module on the station. NASA says the goal is for the working area to have noise levels at or below 60 decibels (dB) and sleep bunks to be 50dB. At their peak several years ago, noise levels reached 72 to 78dB in the working area and 65 dB in the sleep stations. Decibels are measured on a logarithmic scale, meaning, for example, that 60dB is 10 times louder than 50dB…

( is down, so I’m putting this here)


Published in researchmaterial


  1. Napalm Dog Napalm Dog

    Man that sucks! Hearing loss to playing heavy metal is one thing, but this? Poor devils….

  2. Chris Chris

    60db is perceived to be only twice as loud as 50db.

  3. Chris Chris

    60db is [b]twice[/b] as loud as 50db.

    (Perceived to be twice as loud. This is different than SPL.)

  4. Chris Chris

    Sorry. “Internal server error” made me post twice. :)

  5. What Chris said. a diff of about 10dB would be about 100% (or twice) on a subjective loudness scale.

  6. Yeah I keep getting that too.

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