To evaluate the relation between annoyance to environmental noise, general neurophysiological sensitivity, subjective noise sensitivity and other individual characteristics, experiments were undertaken in which 93 subjects assessed their subjective annoyance after exposure to noise under laboratory conditions. Evaluations were made of the discomfort threshold for pulsating sound, the light discomfort, and heat and cold discomfort. The heart rate and discomfort after exposure to a series of impulse noises was also determined. Subjective noise sensitivity, attitudes to noise, mood and personality characteristics of the subjects were evaluated using questionnaires.
The results show that the annoyance after exposure to noise was not closely related to the general neurophysiological sensitivity, measured as discomfort threshold for noise, heat, cold and light; or to the heart rate reaction or discomfort after exposure to impulse noise. The annoyance was highly correlated with subjectively reported noise sensitivity and with the attitude to noise. There was also a relationship with neuroticism, measured with the EPI scale.
It is suggested that the subjective noise sensitivity, attitude and neuroticism for the definition of noise sensitivity be defined in future studies of long term effects of noise exposure.