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 ARTICLE
Year : 2013  |  Volume : 15  |  Issue : 66  |  Page : 367--373

Using the effect of alcohol as a comparison to illustrate the detrimental effects of noise on performance


1 School of Aviation, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052, Australia
2 Acoustics and Vibration Unit, University of New South Wales, Canberra, Australian Capital Territory 2600, Australia

Correspondence Address:
Brett R.C Molesworth
School of Aviation, Room 205, University of New South Wales, Sydney, New South Wales 2052
Australia
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.116565

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The aim of the present research is to provide a user-friendly index of the relative impairment associated with noise in the aircraft cabin. As such, the relative effect of noise, at a level typical of an aircraft cabin was compared with varying levels of alcohol intoxication in the same subjects. Since the detrimental effect of noise is more pronounced on non-native speakers, both native English and non-native English speakers featured in the study. Noise cancelling headphones were also tested as a simple countermeasure to mitigate the effect of noise on performance. A total of 32 participants, half of which were non-native English speakers, completed a cued recall task in two alcohol conditions (blood alcohol concentration 0.05 and 0.10) and two audio conditions (audio played through the speaker and noise cancelling headphones). The results revealed that aircraft noise at 65 dB (A) negatively affected performance to a level comparable to alcohol intoxication of 0.10. The results also supported previous research that reflects positively on the benefits of noise cancelling headphones in reducing the effects of noise on performance especially for non-native English speakers. These findings provide for personnel involved in the aviation industry, a user-friendly index of the relative impairment associated with noise in the aircraft cabin as compared with the effects of alcohol. They also highlight the benefits of a simple countermeasure such as noise cancelling headphones in mitigating some of the detrimental effects of noise on performance.






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