Journal Article Night-Time noise index based on the integration of awakening potential

Tagusari, Junta  ,  Takashima, Tomoya  ,  Furukawa, Satoshi  ,  Matsui, Toshihito

Sleep disturbance induced by night-time noise is a serious environmental problem that can cause adverse health effects, such as hypertension and ischemic heart disease. Night-time noise indices are used to facilitate the enforcement of permitted noise levels during night-time. However, existing night-time noise indices, such as sound exposure level (SEL), maximum sound level (LAmax) and night equivalent level (Lnight) are selected mainly because of practical reasons. Therefore, this study proposes a noise index based on neurophysiological determinants of the awakening process. These determinants have revealed that the potential on awakening is likely integrated into the brainstem that dominates wakefulness and sleep. From this evidence, a night-time noise index, Nawake, year, was redefined based on the integration of the awakening potential unit (punit) estimated from the existing dose-response relationships of awakening. The newly-defined index considers the total number of awakenings and covers a wide-range and number of noise events. We also presented examples of its applicability to traffic noise. Although further studies are needed, it may reveal a reasonable dose-response relationship between sleep disturbance and adverse health effects and provide a consistent explanation for the risks of different sound sources where the characteristics of noise exposure are quite different.

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