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Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13(11), 1163; doi:10.3390/ijerph13111163

Effects of Scale, Question Location, Order of Response Alternatives, and Season on Self-Reported Noise Annoyance Using ICBEN Scales: A Field Experiment

1
Federal Office for the Environment, CH-3003 Bern, Switzerland
2
ZEUS GmbH, D-58093 Hagen, Germany
3
Swiss Tropical and Public Health Institute, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
4
University of Basel, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
5
Centre for Chronobiology, Psychiatric Hospital of the University of Basel, CH-4002 Basel, Switzerland
6
Empa Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, CH-8600 Dübendorf, Switzerland
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Paul B. Tchounwou
Received: 5 August 2016 / Revised: 24 October 2016 / Accepted: 11 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
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Abstract

The type of noise annoyance scale and aspects of its presentation such as response format or location within a questionnaire and other contextual factors may affect self-reported noise annoyance. By means of a balanced experimental design, the effect of type of annoyance question and corresponding scale (5-point verbal vs. 11-point numerical ICBEN (International Commission on Biological Effects of Noise) scale), presentation order of scale points (ascending vs. descending), question location (early vs. late within the questionnaire), and survey season (autumn vs. spring) on reported road traffic noise annoyance was investigated in a postal survey with a stratified random sample of 2386 Swiss residents. Our results showed that early appearance of annoyance questions was significantly associated with higher annoyance scores. Questionnaires filled out in autumn were associated with a significantly higher annoyance rating than in the springtime. No effect was found for the order of response alternatives. Standardized average annoyance scores were slightly higher using the 11-point numerical scale whereas the percentage of highly annoyed respondents was higher based on the 5-point scale, using common cutoff points. In conclusion, placement and presentation of annoyance questions within a questionnaire, as well as the time of the year a survey is carried out, have small but demonstrable effects on the degree of self-reported noise annoyance. View Full-Text
Keywords: road traffic noise; noise annoyance; survey methodology; ICBEN scales; context effects; season; field experiment road traffic noise; noise annoyance; survey methodology; ICBEN scales; context effects; season; field experiment
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MDPI and ACS Style

Brink, M.; Schreckenberg, D.; Vienneau, D.; Cajochen, C.; Wunderli, J.-M.; Probst-Hensch, N.; Röösli, M. Effects of Scale, Question Location, Order of Response Alternatives, and Season on Self-Reported Noise Annoyance Using ICBEN Scales: A Field Experiment. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2016, 13, 1163.

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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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