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Extra-auditory effects of noise: subjective and electrophysiological stress indices


Noise is an environmental problem, especially in urban areas. However, most assessments of this problem have been based on the discomfort that noise causes to people or the extent to which it disturbs human activities. Although studies on the non-auditory effects of noise are limited, research suggests that noise can have negative effects on learning, cognitive performance, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity, depression, migraine, anxiety and sleep. The physiological effects of noise are induced by the activation of the autonomic nervous system, which include immediate responses of stress hormones, which can be objectively measured through skin conductance or heart rate variability. The use of stress indicators, which make it possible to study biological mechanisms objectively in the laboratory, and which can be compared to psychophysiological indicators of discomfort with noise, become important tools for advancing the study of extra-auditory effects noise, since they allow us to investigate which variables can interfere in these indicators so that, in the future, we can extrapolate these data for studies in the field and on large population scales. Objective: To investigate the extra-auditory effects of noise through subjective and electrophysiological stress indices. Methods: Forty university students with normal hearing will be evaluated. All of them will be asked about their general sensitivity to noise, prior to the beginning of the assessments. In the first stage, noise interference will be evaluated during a situation of relaxation and visual memory task (initially without noise and then with the introduction of white noise at 65 dBA and 75 dBA). In the second stage, noise interference will be evaluated during the speech recognition evaluation (initially without noise and then in the signal / noise ratios 0 and -10 dB). During all the conditions evaluated (without and with noise), will be measured: annoyance with noise by means of scale; number of correct answers; skin conductance (in µS); and heart rate variability, checking the changes in the "between beats" intervals for the high-frequency band (HF-HRV). (AU)

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