Exposure to industrial noise: impacts on cognitive performance



Research on the relation between exposure to noise and cognitive performance inside industrial environments is not as broad as on office environments. For a better understanding of the specific industrial noise problems, participants performed arithmetic tests inside a hemi anechoic room while they were exposed to sounds of five typical industrial noise sources. The subjects also classified how annoying they perceived the noise signals. The effect of noise on the arithmetic test’s performance was larger on accuracy than on velocity, which was verified using a Student t-test. Spectral-temporal characteristics – especially high frequency content and strong low frequency modulation – appear to relate better with lower performance on the test than high sound levels. Subjects that evaluated noise as more annoying performed worse in a final arithmetic test (under silence) after being exposed to the noises, indicating a possible cumulative effect of noise on performance. The findings provide a better insight in the cognitive behavior of people who are exposed to industrial noise. Hence, the study will proceed with the specific noise analysis of single industrial workplaces.