Individual differences in noise annoyance and the uncomfortable loudness level

  • Thomas J
  • Jones D
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Abstract

Uncomfortable loudness levels were measured for two groups of subjects with either high or low scores on a noise annoyance questionnaire. The study was conducted in two stages. In the first stage scores of noise annoyance, general annoyance and locus of control were obtained from 122 respondents. Two groups of responders on the noise annoyance questionnaire attended the laboratory for the second stage involving a determination of the uncomfortable loudness level (ULL) by two methods (Békésy and analogue adjustment) and for two types of sound source (white noise and a 1 kHz tone). The key findings from the first stage were that (i) noise annoyance scores were not bimodal, showing no significant deviation from normality, (ii) females showed higher noise annoyance and (iii) both general annoyance and locus of control scales showed significant positive correlations with noise annoyance. Findings from the second stage showed that (i) Békésy determinations gave higher ULL's than those from the analogue adjustment method, (ii) based on annoyance scores, noise-annoyed subjects produced significantly higher ULL's than their less annoyed counterparts but only with the analogue determination with a 1 kHz tone, (iii) females produced markedly lower ULL's than males and (iv) deactivation, locus of control and extroversion were identified as mediating factors in the setting of the ULL. The results were further discussed in terms of methodological differences between this and earlier studies. © 1982.

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