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Year : 2023  |  Volume : 25  |  Issue : 118  |  Page : 121--134

Noise in Preschools and its Psychological and Cardiovascular Effect on Preschool Teachers

1 Department for Continuing Education Research and Educational Technologies, University for Continuing Education Krems, Krems, Austria
2 Centre for Public Health, Institute of Environmental Health, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria

Correspondence Address:
Sonja Brachtl
Department for Continuing Education Research and Educational Technologies, University for Continuing Education Krems, Dr.-Karl-Dorrek-Straße 30, 3500 Krems
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nah.nah_11_23

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Purpose: Noise exposure in preschools is cited as one of the main stresses by preschool teachers in surveys worldwide. Hearing-related symptoms as well as physiological stress reactions are often mentioned in this context. Therefore, the aim of the study was to investigate whether the noise has an impact on the cardiovascular activity of the preschool teachers. Methods: The study took place in nine private preschools in Vienna. In the classrooms of 23 preschool teachers stationary noise recordings were conducted and the participants were equipped with 24-hour electrocardiograms (ECGs). Questionnaires on noise-related stress, well-being, stress perception, burnout risk, noise annoyance, and noise sensitivity were provided. Data were described descriptively and correlations and one-way analyses of variance (ANOVAs) with repeated measures were performed. Results: The average sound pressure level in the classrooms during the first four hours was LAeq 74.7 dB(A) (standard deviation [SD] = 1.74). A significant correlation between heart rate and sound pressure level (LAeq,4 h) was found, r = 0.40, P = 0.04 (one-tailed). Noise sensitivity and noise annoyance showed no effect. With increasing sound level classes [≤65 dB(A), 66–75 dB(A), 76–85 dB(A)], the heart rate increased significantly, and the heart rate variability decreased significantly. It was also found that tolerating noise becomes more difficult with increasing length of employment and increasing age. Conclusion: The noise level in classrooms showed an impact on the cardiovascular activity of preschool teachers, which can be considered as an indicator of stress. Measures to reduce noise in preschools are recommended.


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