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Year : 2010  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 47  |  Page : 77--87

The state of the art of predicting noise-induced sleep disturbance in field settings

1 Fidell Associates, Inc., 23139 Erwin Street, Woodland Hills, California, USA
2 California State University, Northridge (Emerita), USA
3 22689 Mulholland Drive, Woodland Hills, CA, USA

Correspondence Address:
Sanford Fidell
Fidell Associates,23139 Erwin Street, Woodland Hills, California 91367
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1463-1741.63207

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Several relationships between intruding noises (largely aircraft) and sleep disturbance have been inferred from the findings of a handful of field studies. Comparisons of sleep disturbance rates predicted by the various relationships are complicated by inconsistent data collection methods and definitions of predictor variables and predicted quantities. None of the relationships is grounded in theory-based understanding, and some depend on questionable statistical assumptions and analysis procedures. The credibility, generalizability, and utility of sleep disturbance predictions are also limited by small and nonrepresentative samples of test participants, and by restricted (airport-specific and relatively short duration) circumstances of exposure. Although expedient relationships may be the best available, their predictions are of only limited utility for policy analysis and regulatory purposes, because they account for very little variance in the association between environmental noise and sleep disturbance, have characteristically shallow slopes, have not been well validated in field settings, are highly context-dependent, and do not squarely address the roles and relative importance of nonacoustic factors in sleep disturbance. Such relationships offer the appearance more than the substance of precision and objectivity. Truly useful, population-level prediction and genuine understanding of noise-induced sleep disturbance will remain beyond reach for the foreseeable future, until the findings of field studies of broader scope and more sophisticated design become available.


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