New project: Dose-response model for annoyance perception of tonal noise

Tonal noises can cause unpleasant working conditions and potentially increase complaints by knowledge workers. So far, however, there has been limited research on the effects of tones on human annoyance that can be used to set objective guidelines or limits on tones in noise. Current indoor noise evaluation methods do not directly account for tonal characteristics of the noise. The annoyance thresholds experienced by the general population with regards to the degree of tones in noise, is a significant piece of knowledge that has not been well established.

Thus, this project addresses the relationship between human perception and noises with tones in the work environment. A review of previous research on noise-induced annoyance and the investigation on the effects of noise on task performance, suggest that the tonality in noise is one of the primary factors in annoyance perception, there is a possibility to develop dose-response relationships between tonality perception, and noise induced complaint by tones.

However, more research is necessary to determine acceptable levels of tones in noises. The impact on task performance of tonal signals that are commonly found in the built environment is still unclear. The project will address three complementary research objectives:

  1. to develop a clear and uniform testing procedure for examining relationships between tonality perception and noise induced complaint by tones;
  2. to examine the relationship between associated tonal noise metrics and annoyance perception
  3. to determine upper limits of acceptability for tonality with the goal of developing a dose response relationship that can be used to set guidelines for tones in noise

Each participating PEROSH institute, using identical setups (questionnaire, hardware, headphone or speaker layout, test-signals, etc.), will perform tests. The results will be compared and analyzed in order to propose acceptable noise levels for tonal noise applied to workstations of knowledge workers that require concentration – for example in administrative departments, design offices, theoretical work, data preparation and for other similar purposes.

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Project Leader:
Jan Radosz is the head of the Laboratory of noise at CIOP-PIB. His main tasks include the evaluation of exposure and noise emission as well as the development of noise reduction methods and systems and the development of guidelines. Currently he investigates the influence of tonal noise annoyance on work performance and noise barriers based on phononic crystals with resonant elements


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