The objective-subjective assessment of noise: young adults can estimate loudness of events and lifestyle noise

Int J Audiol. 2012 Jun;51(6):444-9. doi: 10.3109/14992027.2012.658971. Epub 2012 Mar 1.


Objective: The aim of the study was to establish whether individuals can subjectively estimate: (1) the loudness of events with respect to the objectively measured noise level; and (2) the overall loudness of their daily noise exposure level.

Design: Participants wore personal noise exposure meters for up to five days. During this time, participants kept diaries of daily events and estimated the loudness of these events and their overall noise exposure using 1-to-10 rating scales.

Study sample: A group of 45 volunteers aged between 18 and 35 years participated in the study.

Results: 86% of participants' subjective estimates were significantly correlated with the objective noise measurements. Multiple regression showed that age, overall lifestyle noise, and diary quality were predictors of the strength of correlation observed. In addition participants' subjective estimates of their overall noise exposure were significantly correlated with their actual average daily noise exposure.

Conclusions: Results suggest that individuals can make a reasonable estimate of the loudness of events they experience and the overall level of noise they experience. These results may have significant influence for those interested in producing effective hearing health awareness programs in that individuals may be capable of assessing their own degree of hazard exposure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics / instrumentation
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Environmental Exposure*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Judgment
  • Life Style*
  • Loudness Perception*
  • Male
  • Noise* / adverse effects
  • Psychoacoustics
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sound Spectrography
  • Speech Intelligibility
  • Speech Perception*
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult