Noise and Human Performance
AIR FORCE AEROSPACE MEDICAL RESEARCH LAB WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH
Pagination or Media Count:
The possible effects of noise on human performance have been the subject of considerable research dating back to 1916. This interest has been stimulated by concern about noise in factories, offices, schools, aircraft and other military vehicles. Two very direct and harmful effects of noise, permanent hearing loss and auditory masking, are treated only briefly in this review. Special attention is given to the so-called nonauditory effects on such performance measures as reaction time, vigilance, time estimation, tracking, manual manipulation, intellectual capacities, and industrial work tasks. Overall, the research data on noise and human performance appear rather contradictory and inconsistent. While many studies have found no performance impairment, and even improvement, there are some types of measures that rather consistently show decrements from exposure to noise. Some theoretical explanatory mechanisms to account for effects of noise on performance are included in the review.