The influence of acoustical and non-acoustical factors on short-term annoyance due to aircraft noise in the field - The COSMA study

Sci Total Environ. 2015 Dec 15;538:834-43. doi: 10.1016/j.scitotenv.2015.08.064. Epub 2015 Sep 28.


Background: Air traffic has increased for the past decades and is forecasted to continue to grow. Noise due to current airport operations can impair the physical and psychological well-being of airport residents.

Objectives: The field study investigated aircraft noise-induced short-term (i.e., within hourly intervals) annoyance in local residents near a busy airport. We aimed at examining the contribution of acoustical and non-acoustical factors to the annoyance rating.

Methods: Across four days from getting up till going to bed, 55 residents near Cologne/Bonn Airport (M=46years, SD=14years, 34 female) rated their annoyance due to aircraft noise at hourly intervals. For each participant and each hour, 26 noise metrics from outdoor measurements and further 6 individualized metrics that took into account the sound attenuation due to each person's whereabouts in and around their homes were obtained. Non-acoustical variables were differentiated into situational factors (time of day, performed activity during past hour, day of the week) and personal factors (e.g., sensitivity to noise, attitudes, domestic noise insulation). Generalized Estimation Equations were applied for the development of a prediction model for annoyance.

Results: Acoustical factors explained only a small proportion (13.7%) of the variance in the annoyance ratings. The number of fly-overs predicted annoyance better than did equivalent and maximum sound pressure levels. The proportion of explained variance in annoyance rose considerably (to 27.6%) when individualized noise metrics as well as situational and personal variables were included in the prediction model.

Conclusions: Consideration of noise metrics related to the number of fly-overs and individual adjustment of noise metrics can improve the prediction of short-term annoyance compared to models using equivalent outdoor levels only. Non-acoustical factors have remarkable impact not only on long-term annoyance as shown before but also on short-term annoyance judged in the home environment.

Keywords: Aircraft noise; Equivalent sound pressure level; Field study; Number of noise events; Short-term annoyance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acoustics
  • Aircraft*
  • Airports
  • Environmental Exposure / analysis*
  • Environmental Exposure / statistics & numerical data
  • Humans
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Noise, Transportation*
  • Regression Analysis