Noise sensitivity, rather than noise level, predicts the non-auditory effects of noise in community samples: A population-based survey

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Abstract

Background: Excessive noise affects human health and interferes with daily activities. Although environmental noise may not directly cause mental illness, it may accelerate and intensify the development of latent mental disorders. Noise sensitivity (NS) is considered a moderator of non-auditory noise effects. In the present study, we aimed to assess whether NS is associated with non-auditory effects. Methods: We recruited a community sample of 1836 residents residing in Ulsan and Seoul, South Korea. From July to November 2015, participants were interviewed regarding their demographic characteristics, socioeconomic status, medical history, and NS. The non-auditory effects of noise were assessed using the Center of Epidemiologic Studies Depression, Insomnia Severity index, State Trait Anxiety Inventory state subscale, and Stress Response Inventory-Modified Form. Individual noise levels were recorded from noise maps. A three-model multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify factors that might affect psychiatric illnesses. Results: Participants ranged in age from 19 to 91 years (mean: 47.0 ± 16.1 years), and 37.9% (n = 696) were male. Participants with high NS were more likely to have been diagnosed with diabetes and hyperlipidemia and to use psychiatric medication. The multivariable analysis indicated that even after adjusting for noise-related variables, sociodemographic factors, medical illness, and duration of residence, subjects in the high NS group were more than 2 times more likely to experience depression and insomnia and 1.9 times more likely to have anxiety, compared with those in the low NS group. Noise exposure level was not identified as an explanatory value. Conclusions: NS increases the susceptibility and hence moderates there actions of individuals to noise. NS, rather than noise itself, is associated with an elevated susceptibility to non-auditory effects.

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Park, J., Chung, S., Lee, J., Sung, J. H., Cho, S. W., & Sim, C. S. (2017, April 12). Noise sensitivity, rather than noise level, predicts the non-auditory effects of noise in community samples: A population-based survey. BMC Public Health. BioMed Central Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12889-017-4244-5

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