Bravo Zulu to commissioners Jill Johnson and Rick Hannold for their efforts to make those who would shut down Outlying Field Coupeville, and run the Navy out of Whidbey Island over perceived jet noise health hazards, “put up or shut up.”
However, even if it is determined that long-term exposure to the noise levels experienced very close to the flight path at OLF may damage hearing, there are two things that should be pointed out:
1.) Individuals in the flight path do not experience long-term exposure to the noise. The jet flies over, it gets loud, it flies past, it gets quiet again. Actual exposure to damaging levels of noise, if any, is very brief.
2.) There are ways of protecting oneself from damaging levels of noise. Men and women of the U.S. Navy work 12- to 16-hour shifts on the decks of aircraft carriers and are exposed to constant noise levels many times that which any resident (much less trail user) is ever briefly exposed to.
They do this work proudly and professionally in the most dangerous workplace on earth. They do it out of patriotism to protect your right to live here and use the trail system if you so desire. They use proper hearing protection to prevent damage from long-term noise exposure. Would it be too much to ask you to wear a pair of $1 ear plugs for an hour or so a few times a month if you’re really that worried about your hearing?