The effect of industrial noise exposure on attention, reaction time, and memory
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Noise, a common physical hazard in many workplaces, may affect different aspects of human cognitive function. In this study, the effect of exposure to noise on some aspects of cognitive function was assessed in industrial workers.
Materials and methods
This was a cross-sectional study on 84 individuals exposed to noise level higher than 85 dBA in a metal industry (noise group), comparing a group of workers from the same industry (n = 80) with exposure to noise level lower than 80 dBA (control group). The individuals in the noise group were classified as well according to noise intensity into: high exposure (90 dBA and higher) and low exposure (between 85 and 90 dBA). Selective attention score, divided attention score, selective response time, divided response time, and memory scale were measured before and after work shift. Data were analyzed by SPSS (Ver. 16) using Kolmogorov–Smirnov test, paired t test, Student’s t test and Mann–Whitney U test were used to compare mean difference of the variables between two groups. p < 0.05 was considered as significant.
All measured cognitive functions were significantly changed after work shift in the noise group and the difference was statistically significant between noise and control group. Exposure to higher noise intensity caused more change in cognitive function.
Exposure to noise higher than 85 dBA affects some aspects of cognitive function (reaction time, attention and memory).
KeywordsNoise Cognitive function Attention Memory Reaction time
The authors are grateful to the managers and workers of the factories which participated in this study.
Compliance with ethical standards
This study was an occupational medicine residency thesis in Shahid Sadoughi university of medical sciences. We did not have any source of funding. The study has been performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The study was approved by the ethics committee of the university. An informed consent was obtained from all participants.
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest (financial or non-financial).
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