Letter: Jet noise can affect health and welfare of residents

Editor,

As a retired professional with 40 years of experience in the mental health field, I’m concerned about the health and welfare of citizens — especially those with mental health problems — who must endure the loud, relentless noise of Growler aircraft flying over Whidbey Island and the north Olympic Peninsula.

A Gutenberg Health Study in 2015 found that “strong noise annoyance was associated with a two-fold high prevalence of depression and anxiety in the general population.”

An article in the May 13 issue of The New Yorker, “Volumetrics: Why noise pollution is more dangerous than we think,” concludes that noise is a factor in a range of ailments.

Other studies show correlations between increased noise levels and disrupted sleep, reduced productivity, increased stress and exacerbation of mental health problems. Loudness and duration of noise can, indeed, become a threat to public health.

The Navy has choices as to where it trains pilots; training over Whidbey and the north Olympic Peninsula is one of many options. Despite widespread public opposition, the Navy has gone ahead with increasing the size of the Growler squadron and the frequency of flights.

Citizens should demand that jet noise be measured in real time, on the ground, and analyzed by an independent third party.

Does the Navy care about the health of its civilian neighbors?

If its leadership embraced a noise monitoring plan, it would show that they do. If not, only one conclusion can be drawn … and it’s not a pretty one.

Barbara Kurland

Clinical specialist in psychiatric nursing, retired

Port Townsend

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