Noise community stress seminar
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NOISE / COMMUNITY STRESS SEMINAR. MARINA Atias SOPHIE Kalafatis SARAH Hickman. Where do YOU live?. OUTLINE:. Environmental Stress Definition Cognitive Failure Questionnaire Marketplace-Environmental Noise Video Types of Environmental Stressors Theoretical Models

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Noise community stress seminar


SOPHIE Kalafatis

SARAH Hickman


  • Environmental Stress Definition

  • Cognitive Failure Questionnaire

  • Marketplace-Environmental Noise Video

  • Types of Environmental Stressors

  • Theoretical Models

  • Influences (Psychological, Cognitive, Health)

  • Differences in level of effects (Children, Elderly, Individual Difference)

  • Local Issues (Comparison between Oshawa Municipal Airport and Toronto Internatioal Airport, GTA Toronto Star News, Pearson Airport Expansion)

  • Laws and Regulations

  • Recommendations (As a Society, In Airports, Personal)

  • Biases (Measurement, Methodology)

Environmental stress definition
Environmental Stress Definition:

Responses caused by an


between environmental stimuli, individual and social coping resources, and the individual’s appraisal of the situation.

7 key factors
7 Key Factors:

  • Intensity

  • Periodicity / Frequency

  • Duration

  • Predictability

  • Personal Control

  • Individual Appraisal

  • Individual Coping Strategies

Cognitive failure questionnaire few examples
Cognitive Failure Questionnaire:Few Examples

How often do these happen to you?

0 (never) – 4 (very often)

  • Do you read something and find you haven’t been thinking about it and must read it again?

  • Do you find you can’t quite remember something although it’s “on the tip of your tongue”?

  • Do you forget appointments?

  • Do you find you forget people’s names?

  • Do you find you can’t think of anything to say?

Cognitive failure questionnaire
Cognitive Failure Questionnaire

If several of these things happen to

you relatively often, there is a

chance that they occur due to

ambient noise in your environment!

Environmental stressors
Environmental Stressors:


-Sudden catastrophes requiring severe adaptive changes from all who are affected by the event (often entire communities).

-Example: natural disasters and technological mishaps


-Major changes or events in one’s life that are uncontrollable, undesirable or unscheduled.

-Require personal or social adaptive responses

-Examples: job loss, birth/ death, divorce

Environmental stressors1
Environmental Stressors:


-On-going, difficult, and challenging experiences of daily life

-Differs from stressful life events because they are permanent with undetected peaks.

-Examples: poverty and rapid social change


-Stable, on-going, intractable conditions of the physical environment

-Often these stressors go unnoticed unless they impede a goal or threaten health.

-Examples: Noise, Crowding, Heat, Air Pollution

Environmental stressors2
Environmental Stressors:


-Defined as unwanted sound, and characterized by intensity (dBA), frequency (pitch), periodicity (continuous or sporadic), and duration (acute or chronic)


-Defined as the psychological state that occurs when one’s need for space is greater than the available supply

-Also classified in terms of:

Social density- a change in the number of people per unit of space


Spatial density- a change in the amount of space provided for a certain number of people

Environmental stressors3
Environmental Stressors:


-Defined as the perception of temperature due to the relation of the ambient temperature in one’s environment and one’s core body temperature.


-Defined as a collection of several toxic agents including, smog, sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, carbon monoxide, particulates, et cetera

-Indoor air pollution- originates from gas heating and cooking, insulation, and other construction materials. Most common harmful pollutants are, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, asbestos, and formaldehyde.

-Heavy metal pollution-such as, mercury, cadmium, and other compounds. These cause harm to humans through the ground water supplies, plant absorption and particulate settlement form the air.

Explaining theories
Explaining Theories

Environmental stimuli are examined applying the stress perspective by:

  • Arousal Theory

  • The Environmental Load

  • Adaptation Level Theory

  • Personal Control and Predictability

  • Attributional Model of Helplessness

Effects of environmental stressors
Effects of environmental stressors


-increase in catecholamine and corticosteroid output found in blood or urine

-effects target organs associated with the activation of sympathetic arousal

-increased blood pressure, skin conductance, respiration rates, muscle tension and cardiac output

Effects of environmental stressors1
Effects of environmental stressors


-stressors interfere with tasks that require rapid detection, sustained attention, or attention to multiple sources of input

-memory for incidental or secondary information in a task is poorer under stressor conditions

-stressors cause faster processing of information in working memory but at the expense of total capacity

-also poorer comprehension of complex tasks

Effects of environmental stressors2
Effects of environmental stressors


-more negative social interpersonal behaviour under stress, including less altruism and cooperation, and greater competitiveness, hostility and aggression

-helping also found to decrease under stress

-stress causes premature decision-making before all data have been considered

Effects of environmental stressors3
Effects of environmental stressors


-Verbal categories of stress measurement:

-speech faults

-filled pauses

-accelerated rate

-increased pitch

-words that reveal tension

-Nonverbal indicators of stress:

-defensive body posturing

-reduced eye contact or facial regard

-greater automanipulative behaviours

-stereotyped object play

Effects of environmental stressors4
Effects of environmental stressors


-Habituation or decrements in response sensitivity with repeated exposure to a stressor

-Adaptation-level theory: judgments of stressor intensity are a function of both immediate background conditions and chronic history with the stressor

-Aftereffects, which are the residual costs of coping, include decreased altruism and increased susceptibility to learned helplessness and overgeneralization. There are also physiological effects such as cardiovascular disorders, gastrointestinal problems, and lowered immunological resistance, as well as psychological effects that include hospitalization and posttraumatic stress disorder.

Effects of environmental stressors5
Effects of environmental stressors


-An increased frequency of minor errors

-Narrowed focus of attention and negative influence on complex tasks performance

-More extreme and hasty decision making

-Bronzaft and McCarthy (1975) found that students on the noisy side of the school scored significantly worse than those on the quiet side on a reading test. After noise abatement initiatives significant differences in reading abilities between noisy and quiet classrooms were no longer detected

-Study in New York City: length of exposure and proximity to noise

Effects of environmental stressors6
Effects of environmental stressors


-Increased systolic and diastolic blood pressure

-Long-term exposure to noise is a risk factor for cardiovascular diseases and heart attack

-Lower average weight at birth and premature birth of infants born to mothers exposed to environmental stressors

-Dilation of the pupil narrowing the visual field

-Sleep disturbances causing increased consumption of slipping pills

-However, attention to noise provides distraction from any pain

Differences in level of effect
Differences in Level of effect


-children may develop attentional strategies to cope with noisy environments and may lose the ability to discriminate between speech relevant and speech irrelevant cues

-children may be more susceptible to learned helplessness resulting from lack of control

Differences in level of effect1
Differences in Level of effect

-further explanations:

-They spend more time outdoors than most adults

-Their physical growth and intellectual development is still in progress

-They have better hearing than adults to begin with

-They have poorer listening/concentration skills

Differences in level of effect2
Differences in Level of effect


-More sensitive to noise effects

-Difficulties to move if unable to cope with stressors

-Women and elderly more affected due to the fact that they stay at home more often and spend more time in the neighborhood

-Other health problems challenge adaptive potentials

Differences in level of effect3
Differences in Level of effect


-vulnerability levels

-available social support

-personality traits (Type A versus Type B)

-previous experience and learned coping strategies



Local issues
Local Issues


(Taylor, Hall and Birnie, 1981)

-four variables: any annoyance, high annoyance, speech interference and sleep interruption. These measures were related with NEF values (a measure of aircraft noise level) for each area

-Results showed that:

  • Toronto and Oshawa residents were not significantly different on the measure of regular annoyance

  • Toronto residents were significantly higher on measures of high annoyance and speech interference

  • Oshawa residents reported greater incidents of sleep interruption

Oct 8, 2003

Noise invades home oasis

Oakville residents say lives disrupted by constant traffic

Owners aware of Ford Dr. situation, officials argue


Keith Doxsee can't get a decent night's sleep. Jim Asselstine can't hear himself think. Priya Narayan can't use her backyard.

Traffic along Ford Dr. through their Oakville neighbourhood is just too loud, they say, and the wooden acoustic fence in their backyards does nothing to help.

"We don't speak quietly any more," Narayan yells during an interview in her backyard. The din of traffic along Ford Dr. — which her Lansdown Dr. home backs on to — is indeed constant and loud, with the roar of truck engines, screeching of brakes and cars speeding past.

"I don't know if it really ever eases off," Narayan said. "It's worse in the morning and around 6 in the evening."

The posted limit is 70 km/h, but most cars seem to travel faster as they journey from south Oakville to the Queen Elizabeth Way and Highway 403. About 22,000 vehicles take this route every day, the town says.

"You can't talk; it's a lot of noise; you can't hear anybody speak," said Doxsee, who purchased his family's home about 10 years ago. "You hear abrupt sounds that startle you both night and day. Your sleep is affected. Your anxiety levels get affected. "It disturbs you."

Many of the trucks head in and out of the Ford Motor Company of Canada plant. But the residents don't hold Ford responsible. Instead, they're mad at the town for not putting up proper sound barriers to protect their homes when the road was built about 12 years ago — after the neighbourhood was established.

"There were warning clauses on title" when residents were purchasing homes in the development before it was built, said David Bloomer, Oakville's acting director of public works. "They knew going into the purchase of their property there would be noise issues related to traffic on Ford Dr.

"The town's position originally was we did everything that was required to be done back in the mid to late '80s, when the lots were created in the first place."

The acoustic fence doesn't help. It's about two metres tall, but given the grade of the land, the fence sits below the main floor of the homes and the road, which are on the same level.

"The sound just blows over the top of the fence," Doxsee said. "The town has consistently used the argument that they're in compliance because somewhere on our property, they can establish they're (within) the guidelines."

Residents would like to reduce the sound by 10 decibels, he said, adding that tests taken at the sound wall by an engineering firm recorded levels of 61 to 64 decibels. Without the wall, those numbers rise by five decibels.

Canada Mortgage and Housing Corp. has compared 70 decibels to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said.

Doxsee and his neighbours have been fighting the town for years, trying to get a better sound barrier constructed — one that preferably runs along the side of the road to mute the sound at the source, not along the back of their property where the effect is minimal, and that's constructed of brick or cement.

If that's too expensive, they'd settle for a reduction in the speed limit, better policing of speeders and limits to the hours trucks are allowed on the road — keeping them off at night when people are trying to sleep.

But they've gotten nowhere.

"The residents signed a ... petition with all the people on the street back in '91," Doxsee said, referring to the roughly 25 families on Lansdown. "It went absolutely nowhere."

Oakville Councillor Tedd Smith sympathizes. "It seems to me it's a no-brainer; there should be noise mitigation installed to at least the minimum level," said Smith, who's urging Doxsee to go through proper, if bureaucratic, channels.

Smith said Oakville council realized a few years ago that many parts of town needed retrofitting in a number of areas, and decided the most orderly way to fix things was to have citizens put

forward petitions. Many have, inundating the works department.

Doxsee's neighbours will have to go that route again, but he's doubtful the process will work. Politicians and bureaucrats use delay tactics, hoping problems go away on their own, he said. Some residents give up the fight and move away; new residents start from scratch.

So while they pursue another petition with Oakville, on Monday they began a battle on another front: appealing to the Environmental Commissioner of Ontario to investigate their allegations of noise pollution. The commissioner's office handed the appeal to the environment ministry, which has 60 days to decide whether to investigate, a spokesperson said.

And there's a new complication: The road will switch from being the responsibility of the town to the region in January.

"That is certainly a brand new issue and throws a little bit of extra complication into the process," said the town's Bloomer, who, along with Halton Region works commissioner Pat Murphy, promises the Lansdown Dr. residents will get a fair hearing if they go through proper channels. But Doxsee and company say they've heard that before.

"My neighbours are quite militant," he said. "They want to use placards to shut down the road, that's how desperate people are getting."

Local issues1
Local Issues to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said.


-this study examined the effects of 3 different highway noise barriers in Toronto

-the first barrier had an absorptive side facing the traffic, the second had a reflective side, and the third had a horizontal cap on top creating a T-profile

-the noise levels using each of the 3 barriers were compared as well as with a no-barrier situation

-concluded that the T-profile barrier had the most significant results, with a noise reduction of 1-1.5 dB(A) greater than the same barrier with no cap

-there was no statistical significance found between the absorptive barrier and the reflective barrier

Laws and regulations
Laws and Regulations to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said.

(See common sounds list)

-Provincial governments establish guidelines for noise control in land use planning

-Municipal governments control noise by-laws, zoning, traffic management and road noise barrier retrofit programs

Laws and regulations1
Laws and Regulations to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said.

outside of the following hours:

Monday - Saturday 6:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

Sunday 8:00 a.m. - 10:00 p.m.

1. No person shall make or cause, or permit to be made or caused, any noise which disturbs or tends to disturb, the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the neighborhood, or of person in the vicinity.

2. No person shall own, keep or harbour any animal or bird which by it cries, barks or other noises, disturbs the quiet, peace, rest, enjoyment, comfort or convenience of the neighborhood, or of persons in the vicinity.

3. No person shall operate, use or allow, permit or cause to be used or operate any bulldozer, grader, backhoe, power hovel, loader, crane, pile-driver, pneumatic drill, jackhammer, concrete mixer, gravel crusher, asphalt plant, hammer or saw.

Laws and regulations2
Laws and Regulations to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said.

Canada (Federal) 87 dB

British Columbia 85dB

Alberta 85dB

Saskatchewan 85dB

Manitoba 90 dB

Ontario 90 dB

Quebec 90dB

New Brunswick 85dB

Nova Scotia 85dB

Prince Edward Island 85dB

Newfoundland 85dB

Northwest Territories 85 dB

Yukon Territories 87dB

Laws and regulations3
Laws and Regulations to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said.

Quiet zone - defined

“quiet zone” means those areas of the municipality specified as follows:

(a) York Central Hospital, 10 Trench Street;

(b) Country Place Nursing Home, 18th Avenue;

(c) Senior Citizens Apartments, 71, 75, 76, 78 Dunlop Street;

(d) Missionary Sisters of the Precious Blood Nursing Home,9915 Yonge Street;

Laws and regulations4
Laws and Regulations to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said.

Examples of Prohibitions in quiet zones:

-At all times NO

Yelling, shouting, hooting, whistling or singing.

- At all times NO

The operation of a commercial car wash with air drying equipment

-The operation or use of any tool for domestic purposes other than snow removal is prohibited

Recommendations to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said.


  • Buffer Zoning Regulations

  • Noise-insulating Design

  • Tax reduction on quieter appliances, tools, and transportation

Recommendations to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said.


-replacing older and noisier aircraft with new and quiet aircraft

-using the noise preferential runway system where planes can fly over rivers or industrialized areas instead of residential communities

-during landing, aircrafts could touch down at a later point which would mean touching down at a greater distance from the residential areas

-controlling take-off noise with thrust reduction near the ground, and continuing with reduced power until planes have passed over the residential areas

-maintain equal runway rotations of flights

-inform residents of home improvement options which could help reduce noice levels, including window fittings and other insulation materials

Recommendations to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said.


-Industrial Ear Muffs

-Stay inside

-Noise abatement construction techniques (e.g. acoustical ceilings, and double paned windows)

-Noise Watch organisation


-Buy only reduced noise products

-Coping courses

Biases in the research
Biases in the Research to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said.


-Only cross sectional research has been done because of sampling difficulties

-The opening and closing of the new and old Munich airports provided the first opportunity to conduct a prospective study of aircraft noise on children, as well to assess whether noise related impairments in children are reversible

-The Hygge, Evans, and Bullinger (2002) study found that long-term memory and reading became impaired in children at the new airport site, and improved in children at the old airport site as well as short-term memory

-Speech perception also became impaired in children at the new sitedid not improve in children at the old site

-children living near the new airport site also experienced significant blood pressure and stress elevations

Biases in the research1
Biases in the Research to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said.


-difficult to define stress and to distinguish between high stress and low stress situations

-various individual differences effect stress

-other factors could be affecting stress in addition to noise

Further questions thank you
FURTHER to sitting within 15 metres of traffic, he said. QUESTIONS?THANK YOU!