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Concept: Noise pollution


The objective of our study was to measure the impact of transportation-related noise and total environmental noise on sleep disturbance for the residents of Montreal, Canada. A telephone-based survey on noise-related sleep disturbance among 4336 persons aged 18 years and over was conducted. LNight for each study participant was estimated using a land use regression (LUR) model. Distance of the respondent’s residence to the nearest transportation noise source was also used as an indicator of noise exposure. The proportion of the population whose sleep was disturbed by outdoor environmental noise in the past 4 weeks was 12.4%. The proportion of those affected by road traffic, airplane and railway noise was 4.2%, 1.5% and 1.1%, respectively. We observed an increased prevalence in sleep disturbance for those exposed to both rail and road noise when compared for those exposed to road only. We did not observe an increased prevalence in sleep disturbance for those that were both exposed to road and planes when compared to those exposed to road or planes only. We developed regression models to assess the marginal proportion of sleep disturbance as a function of estimated LNight and distance to transportation noise sources. In our models, sleep disturbance increased with proximity to transportation noise sources (railway, airplane and road traffic) and with increasing LNight values. Our study provides a quantitative estimate of the association between total environmental noise levels estimated using an LUR model and sleep disturbance from transportation noise.

Concepts: Scientific method, Regression analysis, Linear regression, Statistics, Transport, Road, Noise pollution, Rail transport


The present paper provides an overview of research concerning both acute and chronic effects of exposure to noise on children’s cognitive performance. Experimental studies addressing the impact of acute exposure showed negative effects on speech perception and listening comprehension. These effects are more pronounced in children as compared to adults. Children with language or attention disorders and second-language learners are still more impaired than age-matched controls. Noise-induced disruption was also found for non-auditory tasks, i.e., serial recall of visually presented lists and reading. The impact of chronic exposure to noise was examined in quasi-experimental studies. Indoor noise and reverberation in classroom settings were found to be associated with poorer performance of the children in verbal tasks. Regarding chronic exposure to aircraft noise, studies consistently found that high exposure is associated with lower reading performance. Even though the reported effects are usually small in magnitude, and confounding variables were not always sufficiently controlled, policy makers responsible for noise abatement should be aware of the potential impact of environmental noise on children’s development.

Concepts: Present, Psychology, Understanding, Cognition, Toxicology, Perception, Confounding, Noise pollution


While noise annoyance has become recognized as an important environmental stressor, its association to mental health has hardly been studied. We therefore determined the association of noise annoyance to anxiety and depression and explored the contribution of diverse environmental sources to overall noise annoyance.

Concepts: Anxiety, Psychology, The Association, Noise pollution, Sunshine pop, Aircraft noise


The inability to ignore irrelevant environmental noise is a common problem for people with schizophrenia. The purpose of this study was to determine if the neuronal response to distracting noise is related to mechanisms of altered attention observed in the illness.

Concepts: Attention, Dopamine, Noise pollution, Attention span


The relationship between environmental noise and health has been examined in depth. In view of the sheer number of persons exposed, attention should be focused on road traffic noise. The city of Madrid (Spain) is a densely populated metropolitan area in which 80% of all environmental noise exposure is attributed to traffic. The aim of this study was to quantify avoidable deaths resulting from reducing the impact of equivalent diurnal noise levels (LeqD) on daily cardiovascular and respiratory mortality among people aged ≥65 years in Madrid. A health impact assessment of (average 24h) LeqD and PM2.5 levels was conducted by using previously reported risk estimates of mortality rates for the period 2003-2005: For cardiovascular causes: LeqD 1.048 (1.005, 1.092) and PM2.5 1.041(1.020, 1.062) and for respiratory causes: LeqD 1.060 (1.000, 1.123) and PM2.5 1.030 (1.000, 1.062). The association found between LeqD exposure and mortality for both causes suggests an important health effect. A reduction of 1dB(A) in LeqD implies an avoidable annual mortality of 284 (31, 523) cardiovascular- and 184 (0, 190) respiratory-related deaths in the study population. The magnitude of the health impact is similar to reducing average PM2.5 levels by 10µg/m(3). Regardless of air pollution, exposure to traffic noise should be considered an important environmental factor having a significant impact on health.

Concepts: Epidemiology, Demography, Population, Population ecology, Population density, Pollution, Noise pollution, Air pollution


The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Accredited Standards Committee S12 (Noise) Working Group (WG) 41 has been developing a draft standards document for over 12 years. The current document is in Draft #9, now under development. This document represents the consensus of many stakeholders in the community noise arena, including industry, government, consulting, and the public. The purpose of the document is to provide guidance to government officials, acoustical consultants, and other interested persons on how to develop a community noise ordinance or regulation, which is appropriate for the existing local circumstances. The document addresses issues such as public and government priorities and values, and available resources, and also provides the technical basis to manage the local sound environment. The keys to the effectiveness of the document are that it provides a menu of options for the user, discusses the trade-offs involved for decisions that must be made by government officials, and emphasizes that enforcement of a community noise ordinance is crucial to its success. A description of the current draft is presented.

Concepts: Noise pollution, Noise regulation


OBJECTIVES: To investigate listening habits and hearing risks associated with the use of personal listening devices among urban high school students in Malaysia. STUDY DESIGN: Cross-sectional, descriptive study. METHODS: In total, 177 personal listening device users (13-16 years old) were interviewed to elicit their listening habits (e.g. listening duration, volume setting) and symptoms of hearing loss. Their listening levels were also determined by asking them to set their usual listening volume on an Apple iPod TM playing a pre-selected song. The iPod’s sound output was measured with an artificial ear connected to a sound level meter. Subjects also underwent pure tone audiometry to ascertain their hearing thresholds at standard frequencies (0.5-8 kHz) and extended high frequencies (9-16 kHz). RESULTS: The mean measured listening level and listening duration for all subjects were 72.2 dBA and 1.2 h/day, respectively. Their self-reported listening levels were highly correlated with the measured levels (P < 0.001). Subjects who listened at higher volumes also tend to listen for longer durations (P = 0.012). Male subjects listened at a significantly higher volume than female subjects (P = 0.008). When sound exposure levels were compared with the recommended occupational noise exposure limit, 4.5% of subjects were found to be listening at levels which require mandatory hearing protection in the occupational setting. Hearing loss (≥25 dB hearing level at one or more standard test frequencies) was detected in 7.3% of subjects. Subjects' sound exposure levels from the devices were positively correlated with their hearing thresholds at two of the extended high frequencies (11.2 and 14 kHz), which could indicate an early stage of noise-induced hearing loss. CONCLUSIONS: Although the average high school student listened at safe levels, a small percentage of listeners were exposed to harmful sound levels. Preventive measures are needed to avoid permanent hearing damage in high-risk listeners.

Concepts: Hearing impairment, High school, Tinnitus, Sound, Sound pressure, Audiogram, Hearing, Noise pollution


Early detection and appropriate treatment of hearing loss are essential to minimise the consequences of hearing loss. In addition to conventional audiometry (125-8,000Hz), extended high-frequency audiometry (9,000-20,000Hz) is available. This type of audiometry may be useful in early diagnosis of hearing loss in certain conditions, such as the ototoxic effect of cisplatin-based treatment, noise exposure or oral misunderstanding, especially in noisy environments. Eleven examples are shown in which extended high-frequency audiometry has been useful in early detection of hearing loss, despite the subject having a normal conventional audiometry. The goal of the present paper was to highlight the importance of the extended high-frequency audiometry examination for it to become a standard tool in routine audiological examinations.

Concepts: Decision theory, Otology, Tinnitus, Utility, Audiogram, Hearing, Noise pollution, Audiology


Tens of millions of Americans suffer from a range of adverse health outcomes due to noise exposure, including heart disease and hearing loss. Reducing environmental noise pollution is achievable and consistent with national prevention goals, and yet there is no national plan to reduce environmental noise pollution.

Concepts: Public health, Epidemiology, United States, Poverty in the United States, U.S. state, Photography, Noise pollution, Humid subtropical climate


Organisms living in urban environments are exposed to different environmental conditions compared to their rural conspecifics. Especially anthropogenic noise and artificial night light are closely linked to urbanization and pose new challenges to urban species. Songbirds are particularly affected by these factors, because they rely on the spread of acoustic information and adjust their behaviour to the rhythm of night and day, e.g. time their dawn song according to changing light intensities. Our aim was to clarify the specific contributions of artificial night light and traffic noise on the timing of dawn song of urban European Blackbirds (Turdus merula). We investigated the onset of blackbird dawn song along a steep urban gradient ranging from an urban forest to the city centre of Leipzig, Germany. This gradient of anthropogenic noise and artificial night light was reflected in the timing of dawn song. In the city centre, blackbirds started their dawn song up to 5 hours earlier compared to those in semi-natural habitats. We found traffic noise to be the driving factor of the shift of dawn song into true night, although it was not completely separable from the effects of ambient night light. We additionally included meteorological conditions into the analysis and found an effect on the song onset. Cloudy and cold weather delayed the onset, but cloud cover was assumed to reflect night light emissions, thus, amplified sky luminance and increased the effect of artificial night light. Beside these temporal effects, we also found differences in the spatial autocorrelation of dawn song onset showing a much higher variability in noisy city areas than in rural parks and forests. These findings indicate that urban hazards such as ambient noise and light pollution show a manifold interference with naturally evolved cycles and have significant effects on the activity patterns of urban blackbirds.

Concepts: Effect, City, Acoustics, Lighting, Ambient noise level, Noise pollution, Cloud, Common Blackbird