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Effects of Exposure to Sonic Boom on Man.
Consumer Protection and Environmental Health Service, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Report No. TR-61, 1969 Jan:31 pages
The effects of sonic boom on man's physical and mental health are presented. Sonic booms have marked effects on behavior and subjective experience as exemplified by startle reactions and attendant feelings of fear. Such intrusions disrupt sleep, rest and relaxation, and also interfere with communications. These forms of sonic boom interruption generate annoyance which is perceived greater when indoors, and which is judged equal to that experienced by residents living around busy airports. In this regard, indications are that sonic boom disturbances produced by commercial SST aircraft now being designed will not be deemed acceptable by at least 25 percent of the population regardless of habituation. From the psychological viewpoint, greater public acceptance of SST booms will be largely contingent on determining and prescribing overpressure limits below which startle reactions are minimal, posing no problems to performance or risk of personal injury. Of equal importance will be an identification of the limits of sonic boom levels that will allow undisturbed sleep. Special cases such as insomniacs and persons peculiarly sensitive to noise disturbance must be given consideration in defining limits here. Social surveys note that complaints to sonic booms rest on beliefs that property has or can be damaged by such occurrences. Aside from establishing damage threshold levels for sonic boom loads on structures, effective methods for pacifying, if not, altering these beliefs must be developed and used to gain better community acceptance. Other factors important to facilitating community accommodation to sonic booms, both acoustic (e.g., background level) and nonacoustic (e.g., community tolerance to other public irritants), require further investigation. A discussion of the mechanics of sonic shock waves and a comparison of sound pressure levels between sonic boom and some better known sounds are presented.
Flying; Aeronautics; Bibliographies; Aerospace; Pollution;
Consumer Protection and Environmental Health Service, Public Health Service, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Report No. TR-61, 31 pages, 61 references
Page last reviewed: May 5, 2020
Content source: National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health Education and Information Division