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Technical Guidance for Assessing the Effects of Anthropogenic Sound on Marine Mammal Hearing

Underwater Acoustic Thresholds for Onset of Permanent and Temporary Threshold Shifts

This document provides technical guidance for assessing the effects of underwater anthropogenic (human-made) sound on the hearing of marine mammal species under the jurisdiction of the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) and was completed in collaboration with the National Ocean Service (NOS), Office of National Marine Sanctuaries. Specifically, it identifies the received levels, or acoustic thresholds, at which individual marine mammals are predicted to experience changes in their hearing sensitivity (either temporary or permanent) for acute, incidental exposure to underwater anthropogenic sound sources. This is the first time NMFS has presented this information in a single, comprehensive document. This Technical Guidance is intended for use by NMFS analysts/managers and other relevant action proponents/stakeholders, including other federal agencies, when seeking to determine whether and how their activities are expected to result in potential impacts to marine mammal hearing via acoustic exposure. This document outlines the developme...