Community Noise Exposure and Annoyance, Activity Interference, and Academic Achievement Among University Students
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Background: Noise annoyance and effects on academic performance have been investigated for primary and secondary school students but comparatively little work has been conducted with university students who generally spend more time in dormitories or accommodation for their self-study. Objective: To determine, using a socio-acoustic approach involving face-to-face interviews and actual noise measurements, the effect of various community noise sources on student activities in accommodation both inside and outside a university precinct and also relationships with cumulative grade point average (GPA). Materials and Methods: The study sample comprised a student group resident off-campus (n = 450) and a control group resident in dormitories on-campus (n = 336). Noise levels [LA (dB)] were measured at both locations according to International Organization for Standardization standards. The extent of community noise interference with the student activities was examined with bivariate and stratified analyses and results presented as Mantel–Haenszel weighted odds ratios (ORMH) with 95% confidence intervals. Binary logistic regression was employed to assess the association between noise-disturbed student activities and dichotomized GPA values and derive odds ratios (ORs) for these associations. Results: Measured noise levels were all significantly (P < 0.05) higher for off-campus students. This was not reflected in the interviewed students’ subjective perceptions of how “noisy” their respective environments were. The off-campus student cohort was, however, more annoyed by all community noise categories (P < 0.001) except road traffic noise. For impact on specific student activities, the largest differences between on- and off-campus students were found for telephone and personal communication regardless of the type of community noise. There was no significant difference in the relationships between perceived annoyance due to community noise categories and cumulative GPA in the off-campus group compared to those for on-campus residents with ORMH values ranging from 1.049 to 1.164. The most important noise-impacted factors affecting off-campus students’ cumulative GPA were reading and mental tasks (OR = 2.801). Rest disturbance had a positive influence on cumulative GPA for on-campus students. Conclusion: These results provide support that various contemporary community noise sources affect university students’ activities and possibly influence their educational achievement as well.
Noise & Health
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Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified