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2021| January-March | Volume 23 | Issue 108
March 22, 2021
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Residential traffic noise exposure and headaches: Results from the population-based heinz nixdorf recall study
Eman Alkhalawi, Ester Orban, Sara Schramm, Zaza Katsarava, Barbara Hoffmann, Susanne Moebus
January-March 2021, 23(108):1-10
Context and aim:
The link between headaches and exposure to loud noise in occupational settings has been established. However, the effect of less intense but chronic residential traffic noise exposure on headache occurrence is less clear.
Settings and design:
We included 3,025 participants from the Heinz Nixdorf Recall study in Germany for this cross-sectional analysis.
Methods and material:
Residential road traffic noise exposure at the 2006–2008 address was modelled in A-weighted decibels (dB(A)) according to the European Noise Directive (2002/49/EC) for 24-hour (L
) and night-time noise (22-6 h, L
). Indoor traffic noise exposure was obtained by modifying L
based on residence orientation, window type, and personal window opening habits. Traffic noise exposure below 55, 45 dB(A), 35 and 25 dB(A) were set as the reference for L
, respectively. Average number of days with headache per month over the past three months was ascertained during the follow-up (2011–2015) medical interview.
Statistical analysis used:
Prevalence Odds Ratios (POR) of having eight or more headaches per month per 5 dB(A) increase in traffic noise exposure were calculated using logistic regression, adjusting for age, sex, sport, number of chronic conditions, years of education and smoking status.
The mean age of participants was 58.3. Mean L
was 54 dB(A). Median monthly headache days was one. No association was seen between traffic noise exposure and having ≥8 headaches/month for all the examined traffic noise indicators. However, traffic noise was positively associated with traffic noise-annoyance and insomnia; and night-time traffic noise-annoyance and insomnia were positively associated with headache.
In conclusion, our data did not provide any evidence for an association between chronic traffic noise exposure and prevalence of headaches at this population’s exposure levels. This should be explored in different populations given that this is the first study of its type and that noise exposure was generally low in our population.
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The audiologist’s role in university hearing conservation programs: Gaps and opportunities in U.S. universities
Tonya M.H Veith
January-March 2021, 23(108):11-20
All universities that meet state and/or federal requirements for employees’ noise exposure must have a hearing conservation program (HCP). Universities with HCPs and Doctor of Audiology (AuD) programs could reap a range of benefits from interprofessional collaboration between these programs, including enhanced learning opportunities for AuD students; however, it is unclear whether this collaboration occurs consistently in different university settings. Despite a relatively robust literature around occupational audiology and the audiologist’s role in hearing conservation in general, few studies examine this subject in the university setting.
This study seeks to provide insights into the role of the university audiologists in university HCPs that could help inform further exploration and potential pilot studies to enhance university-based occupational HCPs, ultimately supporting more rigorous professional training in occupational audiology in AuD programs.
This study’s primary method was a survey questionnaire delivered to audiologists at U.S. universities. Survey questions explored university audiologists’ role, involvement with their universities’ HCPs, and benefits and barriers to collaboration with the HCPs.
The results indicate that although audiologists report that they have participated in hearing conservation generally at their universities, the majority of respondents were not actively involved with occupational HCPs.
Further research is needed to understand how university HCPs are managed and how effective they are. With greater awareness of audiologists’ contributions to university HCPs, their role in this important workplace program could merit expansion.
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Music level preference and perceived exercise intensity in group spin classes
Lawrance Lee, Benjamin Shuster, Yang Song, Sharon G Kujawa, Didier Depireux, Ronna Hertzano
January-March 2021, 23(108):42-49
Sound levels in fitness classes often exceed safe levels despite studies that show many participants find high sound levels stressful.
The objective is to determine if lower sound levels in spinning classes significantly impact exercise intensity and to determine if class participants prefer the music played at lower levels.
Settings and Design:
Observational study of 1-hour group spin classes.
Methods and Materials:
Sound levels were measured in 18 spin classes over two weeks. No adjustments were made in week-1 and sound levels were decreased by 3 dB in week-2. Participant preferences and data on post-class hearing changes were collected via post-class questionnaires (
= 213) and divided into three terciles based on the total sound exposure of corresponding classes.
Statistical Analysis Used:
Unweighted survey generalized linear models are used to sort the causal relationships between different variables simultaneously and participant responses. The Chi-square test is used to reveal statistically significant relationships between two or more categorical variables.
When mean sound levels exceeded 98.4 dBC, respondents were 23 times more likely to report the music as too loud than too quiet (
< 0.05), and four times more likely to prefer a decrease, rather than an increase, in sound level (
< 0.05). There was no significant difference in respondents reporting high exercise intensity between the middle (95.7–98.1 dBC) and upper (98.4–101.0 dBC) terciles, 67.1% and 71.8%, respectively (
= 0.53). Overall, 25.9% of respondents reported auditory symptoms following classes. Analysis in the context of dBA and dBC produced congruent conclusions and interpretations.
Sound levels in many fitness classes remain dangerously high. However, music level can be lowered without a significant impact on perceived exercise intensity and many participants prefer lower sound levels than current levels.
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London heliport: Noise emissions and the effect on local residents
Stephen M Dance, Luis Gomez-Agustina
January-March 2021, 23(108):21-34
The noise emissions from the operation of heliports situated in cities can have significant adverse impacts on a large number of local residents. Despite its significance, the effect of noise from rotary aircraft operation in an urban setting has not been extensively studied.
This paper presents for the first time an objective and subjective investigation into the noise emissions from the London Heliport and the associated impact on local residents.
Long-term noise monitoring measurements were taken at four locations and a social survey was implemented involving over 1500 respondents. A new objective measurement methodology was designed and developed that allowed individual air movements from the Heliport to be acoustically identified. Subjective results were contrasted with relevant social surveys and to the objective results. Objective results were also compared to planning guidance, local operation conditions and national and international based noise assessment criteria.
Excessive sound levels were found, both internally and externally, which can be attributed directly to the operation of the Heliport. The high participation rate obtained in the social survey confirmed that noise emissions from the heliport operation cause important/substantial adverse impact on quality or life and well-being of the majority of respondents.
The level of annoyance reported by respondents appeared higher than the level of annoyance attributed to the noise measurements at monitoring sites. As a study first of its kind, it is expected that the findings will inform and influence future regulatory policy and consequently improve the well-being of many residents.
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Negative responses to urban residential noise as a social rebound effect of increasing population density: Legislative challenges and auditory territoriality
January-March 2021, 23(108):35-41
Populations in cities are projected to increase globally, densifying urban residential environments with both positive and negative effects. Positive social effects are offset by negative health effects however; urban residential noise has been identified in a large number of studies as a significant contributor to social unrest as well as a risk to physiological and psychological health caused by stress, making this topic highly relevant to the discussion on sustainability urban growth. Focusing on the psychological rebound effect of urban residential noise, this paper attempts to explain how and why auditory aspects of the spatial environment negatively influences urban residents. To provide context and to indicate areas in need of improvement, the legislative challenges to be faced are considered, with Sweden as a prime example of a first world country grappling with the effects of increased urban density. Existing building legislation regarding residential noise is considered in relation to studies investigating the effects of residential noise on psychological and physiological health, outlining areas in need of future development. Then, health responses to residential noise are placed in a broader evolutionary context by considering how these effects might be the result of triggered evolutionary mechanisms for keeping population size optimal. Further, the spatial dimension of hearing is discussed with reference to theories of territoriality in environmental psychology and the concept of auditory territoriality is described.
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