Impairing effects of noise in high and low noise sensitive persons working on different mental tasks

  • Stephan SandrockEmail author
  • Martin Schütte
  • Barbara Griefahn
Original Article



There is no information of mental strain in noise sensitive persons working under moderate levels of noise. The aim of the study was to determine relevant dimensions of impairing effects differentiating between noise sensitive and insensitive persons.


56 participants (27 men, 29 women; 18–31 years old) were classified into 28 low and 28 high noise sensitive persons. They worked either on a grammatical reasoning task (GRT) or a mental arithmetic task (MPT) under realistic road traffic scenarios [LAeq 55 dB(A)]. Afterwards they rated their annoyance and subjective mental strain.


A multivariate analysis of variance provided significant effects for the individual noise sensitivity (P < 0.01) and the kind of task being performed (P < 0.01). To determine to what extent the rating scales lead to a differentiation of the four groups, a 2-factorial discriminant analysis was carried out subsequently. Results showed, that psycho-physiological effort and emotional strain differentiated best between the noise sensitivity groups and psycho physiological effort and focus on tasks (attention) separated the tasks.


Noise sensitive persons are more distracted by noise than insensitive persons. Furthermore the results suggest that noise sensitive subjects do not only evaluate a noisy situation as more annoying but experience higher levels of strain than insensitive persons.


Noise sensitivity Traffic noise Annoyance Mental strain Performance Discriminant analysis 



The study was performed within the framework of the EU-funded IP SILENCE (Contract 516288).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan Sandrock
    • 1
    Email author
  • Martin Schütte
    • 2
  • Barbara Griefahn
    • 2
  1. 1.Institut für angewandte ArbeitswissenschaftDüsseldorfGermany
  2. 2.Institut für Arbeitsphysiologie an der Universität Dortmund DortmundGermany

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