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J Acoust Soc Am. 2013 Oct;134(4):2765-72. doi: 10.1121/1.4818776.

Relating traffic, construction, and ventilation noise to cognitive performances and subjective perceptions.

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Department of Architectural Engineering, Hanyang University, Seoul 133-791, Korea.


The present study investigates the cognitive performance and subjective perceptions in the context of road traffic noise alone and multiple noises, including construction and ventilation noises. A total of 20 university students were exposed to seven noise conditions. Laboratory experiments employed semantic and episodic memory tasks. Self-reports of perception were collected from the participants. It was found that multiple noise sources impaired the free recall of words, and free recall scores were affected by noise type. Significant differences in free recall scores were found when the noise level difference between the individual noise and multiple noise sources was more than 5 dB. In contrast, word comprehension did not mediate the effects of noise on semantic memory. Annoyance caused by multiple noise sources correlated highly with the results of the free recall and word comprehension tasks. Moreover, loudness and roughness were found to account for the annoyance ratings of combinations of road traffic noise with construction or ventilation noises.

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