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Listening experiments on effects of road traffic and railway noise occurring separately and in combination

Conference paper
Authors Evy Öhrström
Anita Gidlöf-Gunnarsson
Mikael Ögren
Published in Proceedings of Inter Noise 2007, Istanbul 28-31 August, 2007, Paper no IN07_116 (Available on CD).
Publication year 2007
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Language en
Keywords Road-traffic noise, railway noise, combined noise sources, annoyance, speech
Subject categories Environmental medicine


In urban areas, exposure to several noise sources (e.g., road-traffic/railway noise) is a common situation. Knowledge is needed for evaluating soundscapes with more than one dominant noise source. In comparison to road-traffic noise, railway noise interferes more with speech communication. This was confirmed in a recent large field study, which also indicated that noise annoyance significantly increased in situations with combined railway/road traffic noise exposure as compared to situations with one dominant source. In the present experimental study, 12 men and 12 women were exposed to different noise situations (only road LAeq 53 dB, only railway 53 dB, road+railway 53 dB, road+railway 56 dB) in a randomised order when listening to a played-back radio program during 10 min in each situation. The laboratory room was furnished as a living room and noise levels were chosen to simulate a situation with windows kept fully open or an outdoor situation. Road traffic noise at 53 dB caused a higher amount of annoyed subjects, greater listening disturbance, and a more negatively perceived soundscape than railway noise at 53 dB. In comparison to when noise sources occurred separately, annoyance increased with 38% for railway and 13% for road traffic when combined at 56 dB (= 88% annoyed).

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