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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12(6), 5712-5734; doi:10.3390/ijerph120605712

Road-Traffic Noise: Annoyance, Risk Perception, and Noise Sensitivity in the Finnish Adult Population

Department of Health Protection, National Institute for Health and Welfare, Neulaniementie 4, P.O. Box 95, FI-70701 Kuopio, Finland
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Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Peter Lercher, Ronny Klaeboe and Mariola Sliwinska-Kowalska
Received: 28 March 2015 / Revised: 16 May 2015 / Accepted: 19 May 2015 / Published: 26 May 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue The Combined Health Effects of Environmental Exposures)
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Abstract

Exposure to road-traffic noise commonly engenders annoyance, the extent of which is determined by factors not fully understood. Our aim was to estimate the prevalence and determinants of road-traffic noise annoyance and noise sensitivity in the Finnish adult population, while comparing the perceptions of road-traffic noise to exhausts as environmental health problems. Using a questionnaire that yielded responses from 1112 randomly selected adult Finnish respondents, we estimated road-traffic noise- and exhausts-related perceived exposures, health-risk perceptions, and self-reported annoyance on five-point scales, while noise sensitivity estimates were based on four questions. Determinants of noise annoyance and sensitivity were investigated using multivariate binary logistic regression and linear regression models, respectively. High or extreme noise annoyance was reported by 17% of respondents. Noise sensitivity scores approximated a Gaussian distribution. Road-traffic noise and exhausts were, respectively, considered high or extreme population-health risks by 22% and 27% of respondents. Knowledge of health risks from traffic noise, OR: 2.04 (1.09–3.82) and noise sensitivity, OR: 1.07 (1.00–1.14) were positively associated with annoyance. Knowledge of health risks (p < 0.045) and positive environmental attitudes (p < 000) were associated with higher noise sensitivity. Age and sex were associated with annoyance and sensitivity only in bivariate models. A considerable proportion of Finnish adults are highly annoyed by road-traffic noise, and perceive it to be a significant health risk, almost comparable to traffic exhausts. There is no distinct noise-sensitive population subgroup. Knowledge of health risks of road-traffic noise, and attitudinal variables are associated with noise annoyance and sensitivity. View Full-Text
Keywords: road-traffic noise; noise annoyance; noise sensitivity; road-traffic exhaust; air pollution; environmental noise road-traffic noise; noise annoyance; noise sensitivity; road-traffic exhaust; air pollution; environmental noise
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Okokon, E.O.; Turunen, A.W.; Ung-Lanki, S.; Vartiainen, A.-K.; Tiittanen, P.; Lanki, T. Road-Traffic Noise: Annoyance, Risk Perception, and Noise Sensitivity in the Finnish Adult Population. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2015, 12, 5712-5734.

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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health EISSN 1660-4601 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
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