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Annoyance from environmental noise across the lifespan

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Author: Gerven, P.W.M. van · Vos, H. · Boxtel, M.P.J. van · Janssen, S.A. · Miedema, H.M.E.
Source:Journal of the Acoustical Society of America, 1, 126, 187-194
Identifier: 241687
doi: doi:10.1121/1.3147510
Keywords: Acoustics and Audiology · Age effects · Age-related · Curvilinear effect · Environmental noise · Life span · Noise exposure level · Noise sensitivity · Railway noise · Road traffic · Transportation noise · U-shaped · Aircraft · Noise pollution


Curvilinear effects of age on self-reported annoyance from environmental noise were investigated in a pooled international and a Dutch sample of in total 62,983 individuals aged between 15 and 102 years. All respondents were frequently exposed to varying levels of transportation noise (i.e., aircraft, road traffic, and railway noise). Results reveal an inverted U-shaped pattern, where the largest number of highly annoyed individuals was found in the middle-aged segment of the sample (peaking around 45 years) while the lowest number was found in the youngest and oldest age segments. This pattern was independent of noise exposure level and self-reported noise sensitivity. The inverted U-shape explains the absence of linear age effects in previous studies. The results are discussed in light of theories predicting an age-related vulnerability to noise. © 2009 Acoustical Society of America.