We estimated the long-range effects of air gun array noise on marine mammal communication ranges in the Southern Ocean. Air gun impulses are subject to significant distortion during propagation, potentially resulting in a quasi- continuous sound. Propagation modeling to estimate the received waveform was conducted. A leaky integrator was used as a hearing model to assess communication masking in three species due to intermittent/continuous air gun sounds. Air gun noise is most probably changing from impulse to continuous noise between 1,000 and 2,000 km from the source, leading to a reduced communication range for, e.g., blue and fin whales up to 2,000 km from the source. © Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016.