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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 110  |  Page : 87--93

The contribution of personal audio system use and commuting by bus on daily noise dose

1 Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
2 School of Population Health, Faculty of Medical and Health Sciences, The University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
3 Faculty of Health and Environmental Sciences, Auckland University of Technology, Auckland, New Zealand
4 Department of Preventative and Social Medicine, University of Otago, Dunedin, New Zealand

Correspondence Address:
Kim N Dirks
Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Faculty of Engineering, The University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland 1142
New Zealand
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nah.NAH_81_20

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Background: For many young people, exposure to music from personal audio system use may represent a significant component of daily noise dose. Moreover, there is increasing concern for the hearing of those who listen at high volumes. The purpose of this study was to determine the noise levels experienced on commuter buses, and to investigate how these impact on the volume-setting behavior of young adult personal audio system users. Methods: A questionnaire was used to probe transport use, personal audio system-listening behaviors and the extent of understanding about noise-induced hearing loss. The influence of bus noise on volume-setting behavior was determined by measuring, in a lab setting, the sound-level preferences of participants when listening to their favorite song, a generic song, or a podcast in the absence and presence of various levels of bus noise, simulated using output-adjusted recordings made of bus noise. Statistical analysis was conducted using analysis of variance. Results: While the bus noise itself was below 85 dB Leq, as the sound level of the buses increased, so did the percentage of commuters who were found to exceed the equivalent of 8 hours of exposure at 85 dB Leq. Implications: Investment in buses with lower noise levels or the use of noise-canceling or noise-occluding headphones would help to reduce the likelihood of noise-induced hearing loss for bus commuters.


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