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Selected abstracts from Inter-Noise 2014  

Author:  | Health, Noise

Selected abstracts from the 43rd Inter-Noise Congress, Melbourne, Australia, 16-19 November 2014. Click here to download the complete Book of Abstracts – Inter-Noise 2014.

Also see:  Wind turbine noise: papers from Inter-Noise 2014 conference

Public participation at measures to reduce noise in Germany
Zeisler, Annett
Federal Environment Agency, Germany
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An essential part of a modern noise reduction strategy is the involvement of the public. This important approach is implemented in the European Environmental Noise Directive. According to this Directive, noise action plans will be developed with the participation of the public. In Germany, the individual participation in planning processes is increasingly in the focus of public interest and in political discussions. Especially, in context of large-scale infrastructure projects such as the expansion of an airport. The goal-oriented implementation of the participation process and the challenges of an effective participation are demonstrated at prominent examples. Moreover, proposals for a further development of the legal requirements of the public participation at EU as well as international level will be presented. In this context, special consideration is given to measures of a clear and effective participation. The aim of these activities is to achieve a higher acceptance for official decisions of great importance. The involvement of the public in the decision-making process could also have a positive effect on their annoyance reaction because noise is often perceived as less loud if people are directly involved in the process. (full text and e-mail via the above link – ad EU Directive 2002/49/EF 25. June 2002 – see: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/PDF/?uri=CELEX:32002L0049&from=EN).

Noise sensitivity modulates the auditory-cortex discrimination of sound feature changes
Heinonen-Guzejev, Marja; Klyuchko, Marina; Heikkilä, Kauko; Spinosa, Vittoria; Tervaniemi, Mari; Brattico, Elvira
University of Helsinki and Aalto University, Finland
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Noise sensitivity refers to physiological and psychological internal states of any individual, which increase the degree of reactivity to noise. There are only few studies on the neural mechanisms underlying noise sensitivity. Mismatch negativity (MMN) is a component of the auditory event-related potential (ERP), generated in the supratemporal lobe of the brain, that is elicited by any discriminable change in some repetitive aspect of the ongoing auditory stimulation. In this study, we recruited 61 healthy adult subjects (age range 19-46 years) and measured their MMN to several sound feature changes inserted in a music-like sequence and administered the noise sensitivity questionnaire. With the help of this method we studied how the neural discrimination of sound changes (as indexed by MMN) is associated with noise sensitivity (as indexed by the questionnaire). The results showed that noise sensitivity had an influence on MMN to sound changes in timbre, with lower MMN responses in individuals with high noise-sensitivity scores than in those with low noise-sensitivity scores. According to the literature available this is the first study on this topic.

What factors are associated with noise sensitivity in the UK population?
Clark, Charlotte; Smuk, Mel; Stansfeld, Stephen; van de Kerckhove, Rik; Notley, Hilary
Queen Mary University of London and Defra, United Kingdom
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This paper explores whether certain sub-groups of the UK population are more or less noise sensitive, using the 2012 National Noise Attitude Survey (NNAS 2012) dataset. NNAS 2012 was a community questionnaire survey of 2747 respondents in the UK, which measured attitudes to environmental noise. Data relating to a range of sociodemographic, dwelling, and geographic factors was also collected. Respondents rated how sensitive they were to noise on a seven-point scale ranging from ‘not at all sensitive’ to ‘very sensitive’. Linear effect coding regression analyses were used to develop multivariable models of associations with noise sensitivity. A range of noise sensitivities were reported by the respondents (median = 4). Overall, noise sensitivity was more strongly associated with sociodemographic factors than with dwelling or geographic factors. Age; gender, homeownership, children, employment status, social class, and interviewer rating of hearing problems were associated with noise sensitivity after adjustment for dwelling and geographic factors. The analyses suggest that certain sub-groups of the population may be more or less noise sensitive compared with the UK population as a whole. The policy implications of these findings will be discussed.

Propagation thresholds and measurement of infrasound to establish separation distances from wind farm turbines to residences
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Thorne, Bob
Noise Measurement Services, Brisbane, Australia
Of all the issues surrounding noise emissions from wind farms, the question of the potential for annoyance and adverse effects from low frequency sound is one of the most topical. Anecdotal literature is replete with statements concerning the effects of infrasound and low frequency noise. In this paper we present objective methodologies to measure and assess infrasound and low frequency noise in the context of wind farm emissions. The methodologies are reviewed with respect to three wind farms: one each in New Zealand, Victoria (Australia) and South Australia. The South Australian review incorporates data from a recent South Australian EPA wind farm study. The calculations for recommended stand-off distances from wind turbines to residences are presented. The distances are based on the threshold of annoyance and physiological effects threshold anticipated for different turbines and frequencies.

Health in the noise context: the relativity of absolute health
Shepherd, Daniel; Dirks, Kim N.; McBride, David Iain; Welch, David
Auckland University of Technology, University of Auckland, and University of Otago, New Zealand
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Noise remains a potent degrader of health in many contexts, capable of inducing severe annoyance and sleep disturbance. However, quantifying the impact of noise on health involves methods that are neither standardized nor always agreed upon. One issue centers on the conceptualization of health, and whether the WHO’s guidelines suggesting that noise impact is best measured using health-related quality of life indices is in fact valid. The WHO recommendation is largely based on the fact that, unlike diseases, disability, terminal illnesses or explicit physical insults, health impacts from noise are more insidious and covert, and difficult to disentangle from other processes impacting function. Arguably, however, the WHO’s 1948 seminal definition of health represents the prerequisites of good health, and does not necessarily provide a definition of health itself. More holistic definitions can be entertained, for example, good health is the ability of an organism to remain viable and successfully engage goal-directed behaviors within a host environment. Acknowledging that how health is conceptualized determines how health is measured, this paper argues that health-related quality of life has been unfairly marginalized in noise research. Furthermore, rather than being an adjunct to biomedical measures, health-related quality of life measures should be central to noise research. Interestingly, the challenging nature of quantifying the impacts of noise upon health provides a context to examine the broader meaning of health and suggest amendments to those advanced by the WHO.

Soundscape planning as a complement to environmental noise management
Brown, Alan Lex
Griffith University, Australia
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The role and application of the concepts of soundscape planning, vis-a-vis those of environmental noise management, need elaboration. In noise control, sound is a waste product managed to reduce the immission of sounds that cause human discomfort. The soundscape approach, by contrast, considers the acoustic environment as a resource, focusing on sounds people want, or prefer. Quiet is not a core condition for acoustic preference in the outdoor acoustic environment, but congruence of soundscape and landscape is. So too is that sounds that are wanted are heard above, not masked by, sounds that are unwanted in that particular place and context. Advancement of the soundscape approach will be facilitated by distinguishing it, both conceptually and in practice, from the management of environmental noise. Dimensions of complementarity and difference between the two approaches include: different sound sources of interest in any acoustic environment; human responses to these sounds and outcomes that arise from these responses; measurement techniques and mapping; and appropriate objectives for management, planning and design. Soundscape planning and management augments environmental noise management, expanding the scope for application of the tools of acoustic specialists.

Four electrophysiological studies into noise sensitivity
Shepherd, Daniel; Hautus, Michael J.; Lee, Jenny; Mulgrave, Joe
Auckland University of Technology, New Zealand
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Noise sensitivity is present in many clinical populations, describes approximately 20% of the general population, though little is known about its underlying mechanisms. We present findings from four electrophysiological studies designed to expose possible differences in electrophysiological measures between noise sensitive and noise resistant individuals. Noise sensitivity was estimated using self-report measures, while electrophysiological indices included both cardiac (heart rate, heart rate variability) and electroencephalographic (event-related potentials, alpha persistence) measures. All four studies were designed with reference to pre-existing theoretical frameworks. While the findings from all four studies were not definite enough to decide a likely mechanism, they do suggest that electrophysiological investigation of noise sensitivity is viable and in need of further investigation.

This article is the work of the author(s) indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

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