Typical noise exposure in daily life

Department of Speech Pathology and Audiology, Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI 49008-5355, USA.
International journal of audiology (Impact Factor: 1.84). 02/2012; 51 Suppl 1(S1):S3-11. DOI: 10.3109/14992027.2011.635316
Source: PubMed


Identify the distribution of typical noise levels present in daily life and identify factors associated with average sound levels.
This was an observational study.
Participants (N = 286) were 20 to 68 year old men and women, drawn from the general population of Kalamazoo County, Michigan. A total of 73 000 person-hours of noise monitoring were conducted.
Median overall daily average levels were 79 and 77 dBLeq(A,8,equiv), with average levels exceeding EPA recommended levels for 70% of participants. Median levels were similar between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m., and varied little across days of the week. Gender, occupational classification, and history of occupational noise exposure were related to average noise levels, but age, educational attainment, and non-occupational noise exposures were not.
A large portion of the general population is exposed to noise levels that could result in long-term adverse effects on hearing. Gender and occupation were most strongly related to exposure, though most participants in this study had occupations that are not conventionally considered noisy.

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