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Anna-Kaisa Vartiainen, Anu W. Turunen, Sari Ung-Lanki & Timo Lanki

Noise sensitivity has an important role in noise perception

Traffic is the most important source of environmental noise. Noise can have harmful effects on health and well-being. Noise sensitivity describes how an individual perceives noise and inherently reacts to it. The purpose of this study was to explore how noise sensitivity is distributed among the Finnish people and how noise sensitivity is associated with the perception of traffic noise. A structured questionnaire was mailed to randomly selected 25–74 year-old Finnish-speaking people living in mainland Finland (= 1 112). An individual noise sensitivity index was constructed from four questions measuring noise sensitivity. For statistical analyses, the highest fifth of the index was categorized as noise-sensitive persons. The χ² test and logistic regression (in sensitivity analyses to assess the effects of confounding factors) were used for statistical analyses. Noise sensitivity index scores were normally distributed. The majority of the noise-sensitive persons were women, aged 45–59 years and persons with high education. Noise-sensitive persons were more worried about environmental health risks and appreciated the healthiness of their living environment more than the rest of the population.

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