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J Behav Med. 1993 Jun;16(3):257-76.

An analysis of relationships among environmental noise, annoyance and sensitivity to noise, and the consequences for health and sleep.

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Department of Biological and Medical Psychology, Division of Physiological Psychology, Bergen, Norway.


The complex relationship among long-term exposure to environmental noise, self-reports of health, and sleep was investigated in a multifactorial design. Forty-seven women and 35 men living beside a street with moderate to heavy traffic took part. They answered questions concerning health complaints, usual sleep patterns, sleep the actual week of testing, their subjective responses to noise, psychosocial relations, anxiety, stressful life events, type A behavior, and attitudinal factors that could explain their responses to noise. No detrimental relations among objective noise levels, health, and sleep could be shown. There were, however, strong correlations between the subjective noise responses of annoyance and sensitivity and health complaints. Only women revealed a relationship between poor sleep quality and sensitivity. The stronger relationship among noise sensitivity, health complaints, and poor sleep quality for women than for men could be explained by the degree of exposure to noise as evidenced by their longer residence and greater time spent at home.

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