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Noise Health. 2018 Sep-Oct;20(96):199-211. doi: 10.4103/nah.NAH_9_18.

Negative impact of noise and noise sensitivity on mental health in childhood.

Author information

Department of Psychiatry, Ulsan University Hospital, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Ulsan, Korea.
Department of Psychiatry, Asan Medical Center, University of Ulsan College of Medicine, Seoul, Republic of Korea.



Noise and noise sensitivity have negative effects on mental health and are not well-studied in children and adolescents. In this study, we investigated these effects in the aforementioned population with respect to sociodemographic variables and environmental factors.

Materials and Methods:

In this population-based study conducted in two large cities in South Korea, 918 elementary and middle-school students were included. After direct measurements at the selected sites, a noise map was created using an interpolation method. The road traffic noise of the participants' residential areas was calculated based on this noise map. Noise sensitivity was assessed on an 11-point Likert scale. Using multivariate logistic regression, we investigated the relationship among noise, noise sensitivity, and the Child Behavior Checklist. Further analyses were performed subdividing the data according to household income levels.


Noise sensitivity was significantly associated with internalizing, externalizing, and total behavioral problems. Noise was positively associated with total behavioral problems. In the low-income group, the degree of association with problem behaviors was higher, whereas the relationship between noise sensitivity and externalization problems disappeared in the high-income group.


Noise and noise sensitivity are negatively associated with the mental health of children and adolescents, particularly in low-income groups. The findings of this study suggest that noise sensitivity and socioeconomic status should be considered in coping with negative effects of noise in children and adolescents.


Adolescent; Child Behavior Checklist; children; income; noise; noise sensitivity

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