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   Table of Contents - Current issue
March-April 2017
Volume 19 | Issue 87
Page Nos. 41-113

Online since Monday, April 17, 2017

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Aviation Noise Impacts: State of the Science Highly accessed article p. 41
Mathias Basner, Charlotte Clark, Anna Hansell, James I Hileman, Sabine Janssen, Kevin Shepherd, Victor Sparrow
Noise is defined as “unwanted sound.” Aircraft noise is one, if not the most detrimental environmental effect of aviation. It can cause community annoyance, disrupt sleep, adversely affect academic performance of children, and could increase the risk for cardiovascular disease of people living in the vicinity of airports. In some airports, noise constrains air traffic growth. This consensus paper was prepared by the Impacts of Science Group of the Committee for Aviation Environmental Protection of the International Civil Aviation Organization and summarizes the state of the science of noise effects research in the areas of noise measurement and prediction, community annoyance, children’s learning, sleep disturbance, and health. It also briefly discusses civilian supersonic aircraft as a future source of aviation noise.
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A Health-Based Metric for Evaluating the Effectiveness of Noise Barrier Mitigation Associated With Transport Infrastructure Noise p. 51
Geoffrey P Prendergast, Michael Staff
Introduction: This study examines the use of the number of night-time sleep disturbances as a health-based metric to assess the cost effectiveness of rail noise mitigation strategies for situations, wherein high-intensity noises dominate such as freight train pass-bys and wheel squeal. Materials and Methods: Twenty residential properties adjacent to the existing and proposed rail tracks in a noise catchment area of the Epping to Thornleigh Third Track project were used as a case study. Awakening probabilities were calculated for individual’s awakening 1, 3 and 5 times a night when subjected to 10 independent freight train pass-by noise events using internal maximum sound pressure levels (LAFmax). Results: Awakenings were predicted using a random intercept multivariate logistic regression model. With source mitigation in place, the majority of the residents were still predicted to be awoken at least once per night (median 88.0%), although substantial reductions in the median probabilities of awakening three and five times per night from 50.9 to 29.4% and 9.2 to 2.7%, respectively, were predicted. This resulted in a cost-effective estimate of 7.6–8.8 less people being awoken at least three times per night per A$1 million spent on noise barriers. Conclusion: The study demonstrates that an easily understood metric can be readily used to assist making decisions related to noise mitigation for large-scale transport projects.
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Using Smart Devices to Measure Intermittent Noise in the Workplace p. 58
Benjamin Roberts, Richard Lee Neitzel
Purpose: To determine the accuracy of smart devices (iPods) to measure intermittent noise and integrate a noise dose in the workplace. Materials and Methods: In experiment 1, four iPods were each paired with a Larson Davis Spark dosimeter and exposed to randomly fluctuating pink noise in a reverberant sound chamber. Descriptive statistics and the mean difference between the iPod and its paired dosimeter were calculated for the 1-s data logged measurements. The calculated time weighted average (TWA) was also compared between the devices. In experiment 2, 15 maintenance workers and 14 office workers wore an iPod and dosimeter during their work-shift for a maximum of five workdays. A mixed effects linear regression model was used to control for repeated measures and to determine the effect of the device type on the projected 8-h TWA. Results: In experiment 1, a total of 315,306 1-s data logged measurements were made. The interquartile range of the mean difference fell within ±2.0 A-weighted decibels (dBA), which is the standard used by the American National Standards Institute to classify a type 2 sound level meter. The mean difference of the calculated TWA was within ±0.5 dBA except for one outlier. In experiment 2, the results of the mixed effects model found that, on average, iPods measured an 8-h TWA 1.7 dBA higher than their paired dosimeters. Conclusion: This study shows that iPods have the ability to make reasonably accurate noise measurements in the workplace, but they are not as accurate as traditional noise dosimeters.
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Effects of Soundscape on the Environmental Restoration in Urban Natural Environments p. 65
Yuan Zhang, Jian Kang, Joe Kang
Context: According to the attention restoration theory, directed attention is a limited physiological resource and is susceptible to fatigue by overuse. Natural environments are a healthy resource, which allows and promotes the restoration of individuals within it from their state of directed attention fatigue. This process is called the environmental restoration on individuals, and it is affected both positively and negatively by environmental factors. Aims: By considering the relationship among the three components of soundscape, that is, people, sound and the environment, this study aims to explore the effects of soundscape on the environmental restoration in urban natural environments. Materials and Methods: A field experiment was conducted with 70 participants (four groups) in an urban natural environment (Shenyang, China). Directed attention was first depleted with a 50-min ‘consumption’ phase, followed by a baseline measurement of attention level. Three groups then engaged in 40 min of restoration in the respective environments with similar visual surroundings but with different sounds present, after which attention levels were re-tested. The fourth group did not undergo restoration and was immediately re-tested. The difference between the two test scores, corrected for the practice effect, represents the attention restoration of individuals exposed to the respective environments. Statistical Analysis Used: An analysis of variance was performed, demonstrating that the differences between the mean values for each group were statistically significant [sig. = 0.027 (<0.050)]. Results: The results showed that the mean values (confidence interval of 95%) of each group are as follows: ‘natural sounds group’ (8.4), ‘traffic sounds group’ (2.4) and ‘machine sounds group’ (−1.8). Conclusion: It can be concluded that (1) urban natural environments, with natural sounds, have a positive effect on the restoration of an individuals’ attention and (2) the presence of different types of sounds has significantly divergent effects on the environmental restoration.
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Assessment of Reduced Tolerance to Sound (Hyperacusis) in University Students p. 73
Sule Yilmaz, Memduha Taş, Erdoğan Bulut, Elçin Nurçin
Introduction: Hyperacusis is defined as a reduction in tolerance to ordinary environmental sounds. Hyperacusis can occur in individuals of all age groups, making daily life difficult for the sufferers. Although there is no objective test to accurately diagnose hyperacusis, questionnaires are useful for the assessment of hyperacusis. The aim of this study was to explore the reduced sound tolerance in university students using a hyperacusis questionnaire (HQ). Materials and Methods: A total of 536 university students (300 females and 236 males) aged between 18 and 25 years, with a mean age of 21.34 ± 1.87 years, were assessed using an HQ developed by Khalfa. The mean total score of all the participants was 16.34 ± 7.91, and 5.78% of the participants had total scores indicating hyperacusis, where a majority of them were females. Results: Females had significantly higher scores than men in terms of both the total and the attentional and emotional dimensions. The scores of the participants who reported noise exposure or a decrease in their tolerance to noise were significantly higher than those of the other participants. Even among young adults, there was a group of participants suffering from some problems related to decreased tolerance to everyday sounds. Discussion: Although the Turkish translation of the HQ seems to be a reliable tool for evaluating hyperacusis in young adults, further work with various populations of different age groups is required to establish validity and to assess the psychometric qualities of the Turkish form.
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The Effects of Low-Frequency Noise on Rats: Evidence of Chromosomal Aberrations in the Bone Marrow Cells and the Release of Low-Molecular-Weight DNA in the Blood Plasma p. 79
Irina N Vasilyeva, Vladimir G Bespalov, Alexander L Semenov, Denis A Baranenko, Valery N Zinkin
Objectives: Evaluation of the effect of low-frequency noise (LFN) on the frequency of chromosomal aberrations in the bone marrow cells and on the content of low-molecular-weight DNA (lmwDNA) in the blood plasma of rats. Materials and Methods: A total of 96 male Wistar rats were exposed to either single (17 min session) or multiple (17 min session repeated five times a week for 13 weeks) LFN, with the maximum range below 250 Hz and the sound pressure levels (SPLs) at 120 and 150 dB, respectively. The rats in the control groups were not subjected to any impact. The frequency of chromosomal aberrations in the bone marrow cells and the levels of lmwDNA in the blood plasma were measured afterwards. Results: It has been detected that a single LFN exposure with either corresponding SPLs had a significant increase in the frequency of chromosomal aberrations (more than 10-fold) compared to the controls (0.9 ± 0.3%) and resulted in the appearance of dicentric chromosomes in the aberration spectrum, both of which are evident for the occurrence of deoxyribonucleic acid double strand breaks triggered by the exposure. Furthermore, the lmwDNA levels in the blood plasma measured the following day after a single LFN exposure were significantly higher (7.7- and 7.6-fold, respectively) than that in the control group (11.0 ± 5.4 ng/ml), and such levels were maintained higher (4.8- and 2.1-fold, respectively) in the week after a single LFN exposure for the SPL of 120 and 150 dB, respectively, compared to the control group (18.8 ± 1.6 ng/ml). Similar results were obtained from the group with multiple LFN exposures (36.4- and 22.4-fold, respectively) compared to the control (17.7 ± 1.7 ng/ml) and suggest the enhancement of cellular apoptosis as a result of the LFN impact. Conclusion: Presumably, the LFN may have possible mutagenic effects and cause massive cell death.
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How Children Perceive the Acoustic Environment of Their School p. 84
Karl Jonas Brännström, Erika Johansson, Daniel Vigertsson, David J Morris, Birgitta Sahlén, Viveka Lyberg-Åhlander
Objective: Children’s own ratings and opinions on their schools sound environments add important information on noise sources. They can also provide information on how to further improve and optimize children’s learning situation in their classrooms. This study reports on the Swedish translation and application of an evidence-based questionnaire that measures how children perceive the acoustic environment of their school. Study Design: The Swedish version was made using a back-to-back translation. Responses on the questionnaire along with demographic data were collected for 149 children aged 9–13 years of age. Results: The Swedish translation of the questionnaire can be reduced from 93 to 27 items. The 27 items were distributed over five separate factors measuring different underlying constructs with high internal consistency and high inter-item correlations. The responses demonstrated that the dining hall/canteen and the corridors are the school spaces with the poorest listening conditions. The highest annoyance was reported for tests and reading; next, student-generated sounds occur more frequently within the classroom than any sudden unexpected sounds, and finally, road traffic noise and teachers in adjoining classrooms are the most frequently occurring sounds from outside the classroom. Several demographic characteristics could be used to predict the outcome on these factors. Conclusion: The findings suggest that crowded spaces are most challenging; the children themselves generate most of the noise inside the classroom, but it is also common to hear road traffic noise and teachers in adjoining classrooms. The extent of annoyance that noise causes depends on the task but seems most detrimental in tasks, wherein the demands of verbal processing are higher. Finally, children with special support seem to report that they are more susceptible to noise than the typical child.
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Tinnitus, Medial Olivocochlear System, and Music Exposure in Adolescents p. 95
María Hinalaf, Ana L Maggi, Mercedes X Hüg, Pablo Kogan, Jorge Pérez Villalobo, Ester C Biassoni
Introduction: The most common cause of tinnitus is the exposure to noise; in the case of adolescents, music is the main sound source they are exposed to. Currently, one of the hypotheses about the genesis of tinnitus is related to the deterioration in the functioning of the medial olivocochlear system (MOCS). Aim: The aim of this study was to determine the presence or absence of tinnitus in adolescents with normal hearing and to relate it to: (a) the functioning of the MOCS, by the contralateral suppression of the transient evoked otoacoustic emissions (TEOAEs) and (b) the musical general exposure (MGE). Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional descriptive correlational study was conducted. The sample was composed by adolescents with ages between 14 and 15. Two questionnaires were administered, one in relation to the subjective report of tinnitus and the other in relation to recreational activities to know the MGE. Results: The results showed that the amplitude of frequencies (1000, 1500, 2000, and 3000 Hz) and global amplitude of TEOAEs, with and without acoustic contralateral stimulation, were higher in the group without tinnitus, with a statistically significant difference (P < 0.05). The suppressive effect was higher in the group without tinnitus; however, there was no statistically significant difference. Contrastingly, a significant association (P < 0.05) between exposure to music and tinnitus was observed; 72.41% of the adolescents with high exposure to music had tinnitus. Discussion and Conclusion: The results of the present investigation provide a contribution to the hypothesis of “the participation of the MOCS.” Furthermore, a high MGE can be considered a risk factor for the onset of tinnitus.
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Noise-Induced Hearing Loss – A Preventable Disease? Results of a 10-Year Longitudinal Study of Workers Exposed to Occupational Noise p. 103
Thomas W Frederiksen, Cecilia H Ramlau-Hansen, Zara A Stokholm, Matias B Grynderup, Åse M Hansen, Jesper Kristiansen, Jesper M Vestergaard, Jens P Bonde, Henrik A Kolstad
Aims: To survey current, Danish industrial noise levels and the use of hearing protection devices (HPD) over a 10-year period and to characterise the association between occupational noise and hearing threshold shift in the same period. Furthermore, the risk of hearing loss among the baseline and the follow-up populations according to first year of occupational noise exposure is evaluated. Materials and Methods: In 2001–2003, we conducted a baseline survey of noise- and hearing-related disorders in 11 industries with suspected high noise levels. In 2009–2010, we were able to follow up on 271 out of the 554 baseline workers (49%). Mean noise levels per industry and self-reported HPD use are described at baseline and follow-up. The association between cumulative occupational noise exposure and hearing threshold shift over the 10-year period was assessed using linear regression, and the risk of hearing loss according to year of first occupational noise exposure was evaluated with logistic regression. Results: Over the 10-year period, mean noise levels declined from 83.9 dB(A) to 82.8 dB(A), and for workers exposed >85 dB(A), the use of HPD increased from 70.1 to 76.1%. We found a weak, statistically insignificant, inverse association between higher ambient cumulative noise exposure and poorer hearing (−0.10 dB hearing threshold shift per dB-year (95% confidence interval (CI): −0.36; 0.16)). The risk of hearing loss seemed to increase with earlier first year of noise exposure, but odds ratios were only statistically significant among baseline participants with first exposure before the 1980s (odds ratio: 1.90, 95% CI: 1.11; 3.22). Conclusions: We observed declining industrial noise levels, increased use of HPD and no significant impact on hearing thresholds from current ambient industrial noise levels, which indicated a successful implementation of Danish hearing conservation programs.
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Auditory Brainstem Response (ABR) Findings With Click and CE-Chirp Stimulations in Noise-Exposed Participants p. 112
Mohd Normani Zakaria, Noor Alaudin Abdul Wahab, Mahamad Almyzan Awang
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