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2001| October-December | Volume 4 | Issue 13
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Ear damage caused by leisure noise
M Maassen, W Babisch, KD Bachmann, H Ising, G Lehnert, P Plath, P Plinkert, E Rebentisch, G Schuschke, M Spreng, G Stange, V Struwe, HP Zenner
October-December 2001, 4(13):1-16
Noise is a health risk. Recent findings suggest that leisure noise is a substantial danger especially to children, teenagers and young adults. Epidemiological studies of teenagers with no occupational noise exposure show an increasing number with a substantial and measurable irreversible inner ear damage. This is basically due to the wide spread exposition to very loud toys (pistols and squibs), crackers and exposure to electronically amplified music, e.g. from personal cassette players (PCP), at discos or concerts etc. Protection against irreversible ear damage by leisure noise has an important impact in preventive medical care. Therefore the general public must be informed that loud leisure activities may cause damage to the ear. In order to protect children, young people and adults, the legislature ought to set limits for sound levels in discos, concert halls and for music equipment and toys by establishing the necessary standards and regulations.
The intrusiveness of sound : Laboratory findings and their implications for noise abatement
Robert Hughes, Dylan M Jones
October-December 2001, 4(13):51-70
Environmental policy with regard to noise abatement has traditionally only considered whether the noise levels in a given setting are high enough to be deemed a source of annoyance, disturbance, or threat to well being. However, laboratory studies using both simple and more complex work-related tasks have shown that task-irrelevant sound, regardless of its intensity, intrudes upon cognitive processing and disrupts performance substantially; furthermore, its damaging effect does not diminish with repeated exposure to the sound over time. For tasks that require short-term memory processing (particularly the short-term maintenance of order information) sound assumes disruptive power if it is acoustically varying over its time course. However, other properties of sound (e.g., the semanticity of speech) can incur an additional cost if the primary task necessitates or tends to evoke the extraction of meaning. It will be argued that interference in each case is explained by reference to a conflict between two concurrent mental processes; that being demanded by the task and that being involuntarily applied to properties of the sound. Such harmful effects, as well as having direct consequences for the general well-being of those working in noisy environments, may have far reaching consequences for health insofar as extraneous sound is a feature of many safety-critical work settings. Implications for noise abatement policy are highlighted.
Low frequency noise "pollution" interferes with performance
Kerstin Persson Waye, Johanna Bengtsson, Anders Kjellberg, Stephen Benton
October-December 2001, 4(13):33-49
To study the possible interference of low frequency noise on performance and annoyance, subjects categorised as having a high- or low sensitivity to noise in general and low frequency noise in particular worked with different performance tasks in a noise environment with predominantly low frequency content or flat frequency content (reference noise), both at a level of 40 dBA. The effects were evaluated in terms of changes in performance and subjective reactions. The results showed that there was a larger improvement of response time over time, during work with a verbal grammatical reasoning task in the reference noise, as compared to the low frequency noise condition. The results further indicated that low frequency noise interfered with a proof-reading task by lowering the number of marks made per line read. The subjects reported a higher degree of annoyance and impaired working capacity when working under conditions of low frequency noise. The effects were more pronounced for subjects rated as high-sensitive to low frequency noise, while partly different results were obtained for subjects rated as high-sensitive to noise in general. The results suggest that the quality of work performance and perceived annoyance may be influenced by a continuous exposure to low frequency noise at commonly occurring noise levels. Subjects categorised as high-sensitive to low frequency noise may be at highest risk.
Factors affecting the use of hearing protectors in a population of printing workers
Thais C Morata, Ana Claudia Fiorini, Frida Marina Fischer, Edward F Krieg, Luciane Gozzoli, Sergio Colacioppo
October-December 2001, 4(13):25-32
This study examined the reasons offered by rotogravure printing workers from Sao Paulo, Brazil, for not consistently using hearing protectors. The study group was comprised of 124 workers exposed to various levels of noise. Data on work history, psychosocial aspects of their job, medical history, present health, stress, occupational and non-occupational exposures to noise or chemicals and lifestyle factors were collected through an interview. The participants underwent pure-tone audiometry and had their noise exposures assessed. Seventy-nine workers of a total of 124 noise-exposed (64%) indicated that they wore hearing protectors, but only 16 (20%) of that subgroup stated that they wore the device all the time when noiseexposed. The variables significantly associated with the decision for not consistently wearing hearing protectors included interference with communication, interference with job performance, comfort issues, and self-perception of hearing condition.
Factors influencing subjective noise sensitivity in an urban population
Goran Belojevic, Branko Jakovljevic
October-December 2001, 4(13):17-24
This study was designed to define the individual variables influencing subjective noise sensitivity in an urban population and to investigate the distribution of subjective noise sensitivity with regard to noise exposure. A general questionnaire, a ten-graded noise annoyance scale, the Weinstein's Noise Sensitivity Scale, and the Eysenck Personality Questionnaire were applied to a sample of 413 inhabitants of Belgrade. Distribution of noise sensitivity scores was normal and independent of noise exposure. No significant differences in average noise sensitivity scores were observed concerning gender and exposure to low (Leq < 55 dBA), and high level of traffic noise (Leq > 65 dBA). Multiple regression analysis revealed that neuroticism was the best individual predictor for SNS, for both sexes in the noisy area and for women only, in the quiet area (P < 0.001). Age, education level and introversion were not significantly related to noise sensitivity. Positive relation between reported noise annoyance and noise sensitivity was highly significant (P < 0.0001).
Health profiles for patients with Meniere's disease
Kajsa-Mia Holgers, Caterina Finizia
October-December 2001, 4(13):71-80
The Nottingham Health Profile (NHP) has been used to investigate the health profiles for many medical conditions, such as herpes zoster infection, migraine, cancer and epilepsy. However, so far, it has not been used to investigate the health profile for patients suffering from Meniere's disease, but only for patients with dizziness, severe hearing loss and tinnitus. Each of these three symptoms have shown to have a significant impact on the quality of life. In the present study, 116 consecutive patients with Meniere's disease, diagnosed according to the AAO-HNS guidelines, visiting at the department of Audiology were included in the study. The NHP was used to measure the health related quality of life and includes the following subscales: "Sleep", "Energy", "Emotional reaction", "Pain", "Physical mobility", "Social isolation" and items concerning daily activity. The Tinnitus Severity Questionnaire (TSQ) was used to measure symptoms specific to tinnitus. The results showed that the perceived severity of tinnitus in patients with Meniere's disease had a significant negative influence on their health related quality of life. The patients with Meniere's disease suffered from more sleep disturbances and social isolation than patients referred to our clinic due to tinnitus. The quality of life was, on the whole, worse for patients of working age compared to retired pensioners. Emotional disturbances could explain 40.3 % of the variance of the tinnitus severity in patients with Meniere's disease. This can be compared with 20.6% in patients with tinnitus. This underscores the importance of providing psychological and psychiatric interventions and support to patients with Meniere's disease.
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