Equivalent sound level as a predictor for road traffic noise annoyance assessment



Noise annoyance can be rated either in situ or in laboratory conditions. Regarding the , many papers indicate that only 30% of the variance in people’s answers can be explained by sound level values.

This value increases when a single type of noise is presented to participants in lab. However, the relationship between time structure of the noise stimulus and annoyance rating is still ambiguous.

In this study road traffic noise stimuli with different time structure at three different sound levels were created. Moreover, the psychoacoustical characteristics of them were also computed.

The calculated data was compared with results of the listening test in which participants rated each stimulus on the numerical ICBEN scale.

Analysis showed that loudness and sound level are the dominant factors, they correlate quite well (~70%) with people’s ratings. However, the different time structure of the road traffic noise at the same sound level did not evoke significantly different noise annoyance ratings.

Since there are no standards available for loudness measurement, the sound level for the same type of noise remains the simplest factor to reliably predict its impact on people regarding noise annoyance.