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Mature Woman Neighbour


Noise exposure is considered a stressor that may potentially exert negative health effects among the exposed individuals. On a population basis, the most prevalent and immediate response to noise is annoyance, which is an individually experienced phenomenon that may activate physiological stress-responses and result in both physical and mental symptoms. Health implications of traffic noise have been investigated thoroughly, but not of neighbour noise. The aim of the present study was to examine the associations between neighbour noise annoyance and eight different physical and mental health symptoms.

Based on the findings from this study, neighbour noise annoyance is strongly associated with eight different physical and mental health symptoms. Future studies are encouraged to 1) determine the direction of causality using a longitudinal design, 2) explore the biological mechanisms explaining the sex-specific impact of neighbour noise annoyance on symptoms of musculoskeletal pain or discomfort and the other outcomes as well.

In previous research investigating the negative impact of environmental noise and noise annoyance on health, the focus has mainly been on aircraft noise, railway noise, road traffic noise and (during the latest decades) also wind turbine noise, which can be objectively quantified by physical parameters [25]. However, there seems to be a growing awareness in other types of noise sources, such as neighbour noise, which has a relatively high annoyance potential because of, for example, the unpredictable nature and the high information content (e.g. in speech, music and footsteps) [8]. Epidemiological studies have found neighbour noise annoyance to be negatively associated with indicators of both physical [10, 13, 26] and mental health [7, 10, 13, 26, 27]. Moreover, a previous Danish study found a dose-response relationship between the degree of neighbour noise annoyance and poor mental health and high levels of perceived stress, respectively [28]. Interestingly, a German study compared different sources of noise annoyance in order to assess their impact on mental health and found neighbour noise annoyance to have a more negative impact on mental health than both traffic and aircraft noise annoyance [27].

Thus, there are indications that the distinct nature of neighbour noise annoyance may potentially exert harmful effects on human health to an extent that remains to be fully elucidated. Moreover, previous studies have suggested potential sex-specific associations between noise annoyance and health [e.g. 29,30,31,32]. These studies, however, showed somewhat conflicting results on this matter, which calls for a clarification of such potential sex-specific associations.

Table 3 shows the results of the multiple logistic regression analyses, and as can be seen there are strong associations between neighbour noise annoyance and being very bothered by all health symptoms in a dose-dependent manner, even after adjustment for potential confounding factors (all P-values

Sex-stratified odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals for having pain or discomfort in the shoulder or neck, or in the arms, hands, legs, knees, hips or joints within the past two weeks, respectively, with noise annoyance from neighbours within the past two weeks (among individuals living in multi-storey housing in 2017)

One possible explanation of such sex-specific effects of noise on health may be that women spend more time at home and therefore are more likely to experience an increased noise exposure [31]. According to official registry statistics in Denmark [40], the employment status distribution is almost equal between men (53%) and women (47%) and is therefore unlikely to fully explain the difference between men and women demonstrated in the present study. However, a nationally representative Danish survey shows that the average time spent on paid work, housework and leisure activities, respectively, varies between men and women e.g.


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