5Effects of Noise, Vibration, and Shock on People

5.1 Introduction

Noise and vibration can have undesirable effects on people. At low sound pressure levels, noise may cause annoyance and sleep disturbance. At increased levels, noise begins to interfere with speech and other forms of communication; at still higher levels that are sustained over a long period of time in industrial and other occupational environments, noise can cause permanent hearing damage. Loud impulsive and impact noise are known to cause immediate hearing damage. Similarly, whole‐body vibration experienced at low levels may cause discomfort, while such vibration at higher levels can be responsible for a variety of effects including reduced cognitive performance and interference with visual tasks and manual control. Undesirable vibration may be experienced in vehicles and in buildings and can be caused by road and rail forces, unbalanced machinery forces, turbulent boundary layer pressure fluctuations, and wind forces. High levels of sustained vibration experienced by operators of hand‐held machines can cause problems with circulation and neuropathy of the peripheral nerves and can result in chronic diseases of the hand and arm. This chapter discusses some of the main effects of noise and vibration on people.

5.2 Sleep Disturbance

It is well known that noise can interfere with sleep. Not only is the level of the noise important for sleep interference to occur, but so is its spectral content, number and frequency ...

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