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Year : 2009  |  Volume : 11  |  Issue : 43  |  Page : 111--117

Noise sensitivity and subjective health: Questionnaire study conducted along trunk roads in Kusatsu, Japan

1 Graduate School of Policy and Management, Doshisha University, Japan
2 Department of Urban and Environmental Engineering, Kyoto University, Japan
3 Department of Environmental Risk Management, Kibi International University, Japan
4 Graduate School of Asian and African Area Studies, Kyoto University, Japan
5 Centre for Psychiatry, Queen Mary, University of London, United Kingdom

Correspondence Address:
Hiroki Kishikawa
Karasuma Imadegawa, Kamigyo-ku, Kyoto, 602-8580
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.50696

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A questionnaire study was conducted in a residential area along trunk roads in Kusatsu, Japan, in order to investigate the association between noise exposure, noise sensitivity, and subjective health. Subjective health of the respondents was measured by the General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28) which yields the total score as an index of psychiatric disorder and four subscales. Noise sensitivity was measured by the improved version of the Weinstein's noise sensitivity scale named WNS-6B. The original WNS and a single question directly asking respondents' noise sensitivity were also applied to confirm the validity of the WNS-6B for investigating the effects of road traffic noise on subjective health. Respondents were also asked about disturbances of daily life due to noise exposure to find the cause of the health effects. Three hundred and twenty three answers were entered into the analysis. Applying the WNS-6B as the noise sensitivity measurement scale, a significant correlation was found between subjective health and noise exposure in the noise-sensitive group, while no significant correlation was observed in the insensitive group. These results suggest that the adverse health effects may exist especially in the sensitive group. Application of the other two noise sensitivity measurement scales showed no significant relationship either in the sensitive group or in the insensitive group. The WNS-6B would have greater advantage for detecting adverse health effects than the other scales. Furthermore, the primary cause of the adverse health effect was investigated. The results of the analysis indicated that the adverse health effects were mainly caused by the sleep disturbance and were not caused by hearing interference.


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