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See also Health Effects, Sleep Disturbance.
Behavioral and Physiological Correlates of Varying Noise Environments
June 1, 1977
Eighty male college juniors and seniors were dichotomized into either High or Low Anxiety groups. Each subject experienced a household noise profile under a quiet (50 dBA), intermittent (84 dBA) and continuous (84 dBA) noise condition, while performing either an easy or difficult pursuit tracking task. Heart rate, electromyographic potentials, and tracking error responses were evaluated. Results indicated significant (P<.01) main effects for task difficulty and noise condition and significant (P<.01) interaction effects for task difficulty, noise condition and anxiety level (as measured by the IPAT Self Analysis Form) of subjects. The significant noise effect occurred for the difficult task condition during the second tracking period (which includes transfer of training effects) indicating that factors such as task difficulty, direction of task transfer effects, duration of noise exposure as well as anxiety level of subjects appear to be important variables affecting human psychometer performance in noise environments below 85 dBA. These findings appear to be consistent with previous research which suggests that task difficulty is the variable determining the direction of stress (noise) effects on psychometer performances and the nature of the interaction between stress and anxiety level. The present findings are therefore seen as supporting the concepts of the response interference hypothesis and the inverted-U function between stress and performance.
Federal Noise Research in Health Effects, 1978-80
December 1, 1980
This review of federally sponsored research on the effects of noise on health updates a previous survey, and compares present trends in research in each research category and by federal agency. The following categories of research are covered: Nonauditory Physiologic Responses; Noise Effects on Sleep; Individual and Community Response; Behavioral, Social, and Performance Effects; Communication Interference; Noise Environment Determination and Exposure Characterization; and Human Response to Noise Concomitant with Vibration. Over 250 research projects were sponsored by twenty Departments, Institutes, and Agencies during the 1978-80 period. The following information is provided for each project: title; objective; description; summary of findings; where findings are published; period of performance; name and address of investigator; name, address and telephone number of agency contact person; fiscal year funding data. In comparing present research with previous recommendations made by an Interagency Panel, it was determined that overall expenditures had increased by about 15 percent (compared with the previous period) instead of the recommended 40 percent; and that in general, the Panel's recommendations have not been implemented in the priority areas.
Foreign Noise Research in Health Effects
May 1, 1981
Research from 19 countries, including 168 research projects, is described on the following topics: nonauditory physiologic response to noise; noise effects on sleep; industrial and community response to noise; noise-induced hearing loss and hearing conservation; behavioral, social and performance effects on noise; communication interference, noise environment determination and impact characterization, and effects of noise concomitant with vibration. For each project, an abstract, the name and address of the principle investigation, funding and sponsor data if available, and citations for available publications are given. It is concluded that foreign research efforts in this area have remained fairly constant over the last six years.
Measures of Noise Level: Their Relative Accuracy in Predicting Objective and Subjective Responses to Noise During Sleep
February 1, 1977
A review of domestic and foreign scientific literature on the effects of noise on human sleep indicates that no sleep disruption can be predicted with good accuracy (correlation coefficients of about 0.80) if the noise descriptor accounts for the frequency-weighted spectrum and the duration of the noise. Units such as EdBA, EPNdB, and SENEL are better predictors than a unit such as maximum dBA. Furthermore, no sleep disruption can be predicted more accurately than arousal or behavioral awakening responses. Some evidence suggests that questionnaires about subjective sleep quality should contain items dealing with the subject's (a) sense of well being on arising, (b) sense of the general quality of his sleep, and (c)estimates on how long it took to fall asleep. Scores on these items can be summed to develop a Composite Sleep Quality measure. Although the amount of evidence is limited, such Composite Sleep Quality is correlated highly (about 0.90) with Composite Noise Rating (CNR) when units of EPNdB or EdBA are used to calculate CNR. Other techniques for calculating the total nighttime noise environment, such as Leq and NNI, have some shortcomings with respect to their ability to predict Composite Sleep Quality.
Pow! - Noise and Hearing Loss - NIH Consensus Development Conference
January 22, 1990
The National Institutes of Health Consensus Development Conference on Noise and Hearing Loss brought together biomedical and behavioral scientists, health care providers, and the public to address the characteristics of noise-induced hearing loss, acoustic parameters of hazardous noise exposure, individual and age-specific susceptibility, and prevention strategies. Following a day and a half of presentations by experts and discussion by the audience, a consensus panel weighed the evidence and prepared a consensus statement. Among their findings, the panel concluded that sounds of sufficient intensity and duration will damage the ear and result in temporary or permanent hearing loss at any age. Sound levels of less than 75 dB(A) are unlikely to cause permanent hearing loss, while sound levels above 85 dB(A) with exposure of 8 hours per day will produce permanent hearing loss after many years. Current scientific knowledge is inadequate to predict that any particular individual will be safe when exposed to a hazardous noise. Strategies to prevent damage from sound exposure should include the use of individual hearing protection devices, education programs beginning with school-age children, consumer guidance, increased product noise labeling, and hearing conservation programs for occupational settings.
The Public Health Effects of Community Noise
May 1, 1987
Noise is "any loud, discordant or disagreeable sound" according to Webster's Dictionary (15, p.1). Another definition would be "unwanted sound". Nearly everyone is exposed to noise at some time in their lives, yet the control of noise is not a top priority for most environmental control programs. Community noise is a very widespread problem that can cause serious public health problems. It is well-established that noise can cause hearing loss in the workplace, but what are the other effects of noise outside the workplace? The World Health Organization defines health as a state of physical, mental, and social well being, not merely the absence of disease or infirmity. This paper will examine the evidence for the effects of noise on the cardiovascular system, the performance of tasks, the unborn and children, social behavior and mental health, sleep, speech communication and hearing. The majority of the analysis will be spent on the cardiovascular effects because they are both the most controversial and the most potentially health threatening. It is hoped that this examination of the public health effects of community noise will serve as justification for increased priority and effort in noise control at the community, state and federal levels. In addition to noise control programs, this review should also be used to educate the public on the hazards of community noise exposure and how to protect themselves from it.
Noise Control Ordinance Development: A Guidebook for Local Officials
May 1, 1982
The future of America's cities depends on how effectively they can compete as desirable places in which to live and work. Much of their attractiveness is determined by the quality of their environment. Noise is adversely affecting the quality of urban life and is a threat to the public health, safety, and welfare of our cities' residents. NLC is committed to assisting communities throughout the United States in resolving their various noise problems through the Community and Airport ECHO Program, by promoting the "Buy Quiet" program, and by preparing this publication to emphasize the important steps that a community should take in developing a noise control ordinance. This publication is a step-by-step guide that local officials can use as they undertake the ordinance development process.