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Special Issue "Noise and Quality of Life"

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A special issue of International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health (ISSN 1660-4601).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 July 2010)

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Peter Lercher

Division of Social Medicine, Medical University Innsbruck, Sonnenburgstraße 16, A-6020 Innsbruck, Austria
Website | E-Mail
Fax: +43 0512 9003 73251
Interests: environmental and social epidemiology; environmental health impact assessment; noise/vibration and air pollution; combined effects; quality of life

Special Issue Information

CURRENT STATUS
The assessment of the effects of noise on health can shortly be characterized:

  • Focus on simple, physical noise indicators (dBA,Leq,24hrs)
  • Focus on more severe health outcomes
  • Focus on the main effects only – thus ignoring the importance of other moderating and mediating factors.

In contrast, noise survey research showed the importance of contextual factors (e.g. housing, neighborhoods, area layout, other environmental pollution) contributing as much to the variance in annoyance as the noise indicator does. Health survey research also found associations between subjectively assessed "acoustic quality of the environment" and better "functional health".

PUBLIC HEALTH IMPORTANCE & NEW REQUIREMENTS
Most people live in residential sound environments where severe health effects are not yet observed - nevertheless people are dissatisfied because the sound environment interferes with their intentions in daily life.
Sustainable planning perspectives (environmental zoning, "sensitive areas", "supportive environments") require a deeper understanding of the relations between noise, sound and the environment which shape health and sustainable living.Therefore, research should be broadened:

  • to include exposure indicators which better characterize the sound environment
  • to include health impairments related to the perceived quality of life
  • to include supportive qualities of the sound environment within a specific community context.

Keywords

  • quality of life
  • sound environment
  • quiet areas
  • sustainability
  • environmental health impact assessment
  • soundscape assessment
  • noise indicators

Published Papers (10 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle The Influence of Traffic Noise on Appreciation of the Living Quality of a Neighborhood
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2011, 8(3), 777-798; doi:10.3390/ijerph8030777
Received: 1 February 2011 / Revised: 28 February 2011 / Accepted: 28 February 2011 / Published: 7 March 2011
Cited by 16 | PDF Full-text (926 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Traffic influences the quality of life in a neighborhood in many different ways. Today, in many patsy of the world the benefits of accessibility are taken for granted and traffic is perceived as having a negative impact on satisfaction with the neighborhood. Negative
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Traffic influences the quality of life in a neighborhood in many different ways. Today, in many patsy of the world the benefits of accessibility are taken for granted and traffic is perceived as having a negative impact on satisfaction with the neighborhood. Negative health effects are observed in a number of studies and these stimulate the negative feelings in the exposed population. The noise produced by traffic is one of the most important contributors to the appreciation of the quality of life. Thus, it is useful to define a number of indicators that allow monitoring the current impact of noise on the quality of life and predicting the effect of future developments. This work investigates and compares a set of indicators related to exposure at home and exposure during trips around the house. The latter require detailed modeling of the population’s trip behavior. The validity of the indicators is checked by their ability to predict the outcome of a social survey and by outlining potential causal paths between them and the outcome variables considered: general satisfaction with the quality of life in the neighborhood, noise annoyance at home, and reported traffic density in the area. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Quality of Life)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Changed Aircraft Noise Exposure on the Use of Outdoor Recreational Areas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(11), 3890-3915; doi:10.3390/ijerph7113890
Received: 24 September 2010 / Revised: 27 October 2010 / Accepted: 28 October 2010 / Published: 3 November 2010
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (411 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
This paper examines behavioural responses to changes in aircraft noise exposure in local outdoor recreational areas near airports. Results from a panel study conducted in conjunction with the relocation of Norway’s main airport in 1998 are presented. One recreational area was studied at
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This paper examines behavioural responses to changes in aircraft noise exposure in local outdoor recreational areas near airports. Results from a panel study conducted in conjunction with the relocation of Norway’s main airport in 1998 are presented. One recreational area was studied at each airport site. The samples (n = 1,264/1,370) were telephone interviewed about their use of the area before and after the change. Results indicate that changed aircraft noise exposure may influence individual choices to use local outdoor recreational areas, suggesting that careful considerations are needed in the planning of air routes over local outdoor recreational areas. However, considerable stability in use, and also fluctuations in use unrelated to the changes in noise conditions were found. Future studies of noise impacts should examine a broader set of coping mechanisms, like intra- and temporal displacement. Also, the role of place attachment, and the substitutability of local areas should be studied. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Quality of Life)
Open AccessArticle Effects of Changed Aircraft Noise Exposure on Experiential Qualities of Outdoor Recreational Areas
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(10), 3739-3759; doi:10.3390/ijerph7103739
Received: 15 September 2010 / Revised: 6 October 2010 / Accepted: 15 October 2010 / Published: 20 October 2010
Cited by 4 | PDF Full-text (752 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The literature indicates that sound and visual stimuli interact in the impression of landscapes. This paper examines the relationship between annoyance with sound from aircraft and annoyance with other area problems (e.g., careless bicycle riding, crowding, etc.), and how changes in
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The literature indicates that sound and visual stimuli interact in the impression of landscapes. This paper examines the relationship between annoyance with sound from aircraft and annoyance with other area problems (e.g., careless bicycle riding, crowding, etc.), and how changes in noise exposure influence the perceived overall recreational quality of outdoor recreational areas. A panel study (telephone interviews) conducted before and after the relocation of Norway’s main airport in 1998 examined effects of decreased or increased noise exposure in nearby recreational areas (n = 591/455). Sound from aircraft annoyed the largest proportion of recreationists, except near the old airport after the change. The decrease in annoyance with sound from aircraft was accompanied by significant decreases in annoyance with most of the other area problems. Near the new airport annoyance with most factors beside sound from aircraft increased slightly, but not significantly. A relationship between aircraft noise annoyance and perceived overall recreational quality of the areas was found. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Quality of Life)
Open AccessArticle Exploring the Relationship between Noise Sensitivity, Annoyance and Health-Related Quality of Life in a Sample of Adults Exposed to Environmental Noise
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(10), 3579-3594; doi:10.3390/ijerph7103580
Received: 19 August 2010 / Revised: 30 August 2010 / Accepted: 28 September 2010 / Published: 11 October 2010
Cited by 46 | PDF Full-text (125 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The relationship between environmental noise and health is poorly understood but of fundamental importance to public health. This study estimated the relationship between noise sensitivity, noise annoyance and health-related quality of life in a sample of adults residing close to the Auckland International
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The relationship between environmental noise and health is poorly understood but of fundamental importance to public health. This study estimated the relationship between noise sensitivity, noise annoyance and health-related quality of life in a sample of adults residing close to the Auckland International Airport, New Zealand. A small sample (n = 105) completed surveys measuring noise sensitivity, noise annoyance, and quality of life. Noise sensitivity was associated with health-related quality of life; annoyance and sleep disturbance mediated the effects of noise sensitivity on health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Quality of Life)
Open AccessArticle Associations between Chronic Community Noise Exposure and Blood Pressure at Rest and during Acute Noise and Non-Noise Stressors among Urban School Children in India
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(9), 3457-3466; doi:10.3390/ijerph7093457
Received: 31 July 2010 / Revised: 2 September 2010 / Accepted: 14 September 2010 / Published: 15 September 2010
Cited by 9 | PDF Full-text (158 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present study builds on prior research that has examined the association between children’s chronic exposure to community noise and resting blood pressure and blood pressure dysregulation during exposure to acute stressors. A novel contribution of the study is that it examines how
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The present study builds on prior research that has examined the association between children’s chronic exposure to community noise and resting blood pressure and blood pressure dysregulation during exposure to acute stressors. A novel contribution of the study is that it examines how chronic noise exposure relates to blood pressure responses during exposure to both noise and non-noise acute stressors. The acute noise stressor was recorded street noise and the non-noise stressor was mental arithmetic. The sample consisted of 189 3rd and 6th grade children (51.9% percent boys; 52.9% 3rd graders) from a noisy (n = 95) or relatively quiet (n = 94) public school in the city of Pune, India. There were no statistically significant differences between chronic noise levels and resting blood pressure levels. However, relative to quiet-school children, noisy-school children had significantly lower increases in blood pressure when exposed to either an acute noise or non-noise stressor. This finding suggests that chronic noise exposure may result in hypo-reactivity to a variety of stressors and not just habituation to noise stressors. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Quality of Life)
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Open AccessArticle Aircraft Noise and Quality of Life around Frankfurt Airport
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(9), 3382-3405; doi:10.3390/ijerph7093382
Received: 16 July 2010 / Revised: 26 August 2010 / Accepted: 26 August 2010 / Published: 31 August 2010
Cited by 28 | PDF Full-text (665 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In a survey of 2,312 residents living near Frankfurt Airport aircraft noise annoyance and disturbances as well as environmental (EQoL) and health-related quality of life (HQoL) were assessed and compared with data on exposure due to aircraft, road traffic, and railway noise. Results
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In a survey of 2,312 residents living near Frankfurt Airport aircraft noise annoyance and disturbances as well as environmental (EQoL) and health-related quality of life (HQoL) were assessed and compared with data on exposure due to aircraft, road traffic, and railway noise. Results indicate higher noise annoyance than predicted from general exposure-response curves. Beside aircraft sound levels source-related attitudes were associated with reactions to aircraft noise. Furthermore, aircraft noise affected EQoL in general, although to a much smaller extent. HQoL was associated with aircraft noise annoyance, noise sensitivity and partly with aircraft noise exposure, in particular in the subgroup of multimorbid residents. The results suggest a recursive relationship between noise and health, yet this cannot be tested in cross-sectional studies. Longitudinal studies would be recommendable to get more insight in the causal paths underlying the noise-health relationship. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Quality of Life)
Open AccessArticle Attractive "Quiet" Courtyards: A Potential Modifier of Urban Residents' Responses to Road Traffic Noise?
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(9), 3359-3375; doi:10.3390/ijerph7093359
Received: 20 July 2010 / Revised: 18 August 2010 / Accepted: 25 August 2010 / Published: 30 August 2010
Cited by 36 | PDF Full-text (494 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The present paper explores the influence of the physical environmental qualities of “quiet” courtyards (degree of naturalness and utilization) on residents’ noise responses. A questionnaire study was conducted in urban residential areas with road-traffic noise exposure between LAeq,24h 58 to 68 dB
[...] Read more.
The present paper explores the influence of the physical environmental qualities of “quiet” courtyards (degree of naturalness and utilization) on residents’ noise responses. A questionnaire study was conducted in urban residential areas with road-traffic noise exposure between LAeq,24h 58 to 68 dB at the most exposed façade. The dwellings had “quiet” indoor section/s and faced a “quiet” outdoor courtyard (LAeq,24h < 48 dB façade reflex included). Data were collected from 385 residents and four groups were formed based on sound-level categories (58–62 and 63–68 dB) and classification of the “quiet” courtyards into groups with low and high physical environmental quality. At both sound-level categories, the results indicate that access to high-quality “quiet” courtyards is associated with less noise annoyance and noise-disturbed outdoor activities among the residents. Compared to low-quality “quiet” courtyards, high-quality courtyards can function as an attractive restorative environment providing residents with a positive soundscape, opportunities for rest, relaxation and play as well as social relations that potentially reduce the adverse effects of noise. However, access to quietness and a high-quality courtyard can only compensate partly for high sound levels at façades facing the streets, thus, 16% and 29% were still noise annoyed at 58–62 and 63–68 dB, respectively. Implications of the “quiet”-side concept are discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Quality of Life)
Open AccessArticle Noise in Schools: A Holistic Approach to the Issue
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(8), 3255-3269; doi:10.3390/ijerph7083255
Received: 22 July 2010 / Revised: 18 August 2010 / Accepted: 19 August 2010 / Published: 23 August 2010
Cited by 17 | PDF Full-text (65 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Much of the research evidence relating to the physical learning environment of schools is inconclusive, contradictory or incomplete. Nevertheless, within this confusing area, research from a number of disciplines, using a range of methodologies, points to the negative impact of noise on students’
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Much of the research evidence relating to the physical learning environment of schools is inconclusive, contradictory or incomplete. Nevertheless, within this confusing area, research from a number of disciplines, using a range of methodologies, points to the negative impact of noise on students’ learning. In this paper, drawing on our systematic review of learning environments we review the weight of evidence in relation to noise, considering what implications the results of these studies have for the design and use of learning spaces in schools. We make four key points. Firstly that noise over a given level does appear to have a negative impact on learning. Secondly that beneath these levels noise may or may not be problematic, depending on the social, cultural and pedagogical expectations of the students and teachers. Thirdly we argue that when noise is deemed to be a difficulty, this finding cannot simply be translated into design prescriptions. The reasons for this indeterminacy include differing understandings of the routes through which noise produces learning deficits, as well as relationships between noise and other elements of the environment, particularly the impacts of physical solutions to noise problems. Finally, we suggest that solutions to noise problems will not be produced by viewing noise in isolation, or even as part of the physical environment, but through participatory approaches to understanding and adapting the structure, organisation and use of learning spaces in schools. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Quality of Life)
Open AccessArticle The More the Worse: the Grade of Noise-Induced Hearing Loss Associates with the Severity of Tinnitus
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(8), 3071-3079; doi:10.3390/ijerph7083071
Received: 8 July 2010 / Revised: 20 July 2010 / Accepted: 29 July 2010 / Published: 4 August 2010
Cited by 27 | PDF Full-text (127 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Tinnitus disturbs lives and negatively affects the quality of life of about 2% of the adult world population. Research has shown that the main cause of tinnitus is hearing loss. To analyze a possible association of the degree of hearing loss with the
[...] Read more.
Tinnitus disturbs lives and negatively affects the quality of life of about 2% of the adult world population. Research has shown that the main cause of tinnitus is hearing loss. To analyze a possible association of the degree of hearing loss with the severity of tinnitus, we have performed a retrospective study using admission data on 531 patients suffering from chronic tinnitus. We have found that 83% of our tinnitus patients had a high frequency hearing loss corresponding to a noise-induced hearing loss (NIHL). There was a significant correlation between the mean hearing loss and the tinnitus loudness (p < 0.0001). Interestingly, patients suffering from decompensated chronic tinnitus had a greater degree of hearing loss than the patients with compensated form of tinnitus. In addition, we demonstrate that the degree of hearing loss positively correlates with the two subscales (“intrusiveness” and “auditory perceptional difficulties”) of the Tinnitus Questionnaire. Our retrospective study provides indirect evidence supporting the hypothesis that the degree of noise-induced hearing loss influences the severity of tinnitus. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Quality of Life)
Open AccessArticle Stress Recovery during Exposure to Nature Sound and Environmental Noise
Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2010, 7(3), 1036-1046; doi:10.3390/ijerph7031036
Received: 26 January 2010 / Revised: 20 February 2010 / Accepted: 5 March 2010 / Published: 11 March 2010
Cited by 84 | PDF Full-text (165 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Research suggests that visual impressions of natural compared with urban environments facilitate recovery after psychological stress. To test whether auditory stimulation has similar effects, 40 subjects were exposed to sounds from nature or noisy environments after a stressful mental arithmetic task. Skin conductance
[...] Read more.
Research suggests that visual impressions of natural compared with urban environments facilitate recovery after psychological stress. To test whether auditory stimulation has similar effects, 40 subjects were exposed to sounds from nature or noisy environments after a stressful mental arithmetic task. Skin conductance level (SCL) was used to index sympathetic activation, and high frequency heart rate variability (HF HRV) was used to index parasympathetic activation. Although HF HRV showed no effects, SCL recovery tended to be faster during natural sound than noisy environments. These results suggest that nature sounds facilitate recovery from sympathetic activation after a psychological stressor. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Noise and Quality of Life)
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