The effects of noise on performance and health in the workplace are reviewed. The review is based on a survey of the non English literature of the preceding 10 years, with an emphasis on publications that are available in the Communist countries. The influence of noise on performance as a function of the factors, noise characteristics, age, and exposure is discussed. Age and duration of exposure are the most important factors that cause performance impairment. Noise exposures of less than 100 decibels (dB) exert inconclusive effects on work performance; however, adverse effects have been noted at noise levels of 80 to 85dB. The effects of noise on health are considered. Noise induces increased fatigue, manifest both behaviorally and physiologically. A decreased capacity for focusing attention and a slowing of motor reactions have occurred after several hours of noise exposure. Autonomic disturbances, including cardiovascular disturbances, and the occurrence of an asthenovegetative syndrome have been noted in subjects exposed to excessive noise. Digestive, endocrine, and biochemical dysfunction have also been observed. The author concludes that noise is a noxious factor for the health and working capacity of individuals in as much as it disturbs, irritates, annoys, and induces organic and functional disorders.
NIOSH, U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Cincinnati, Ohio, 101 pages, 149 references