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Effects of the acoustical work environment on reading performance and well-being in employees

An experimental investigation in the laboratory

Project number: F 2427 Institution: Federal Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (BAuA) Status: Ongoing Project Planned end: 2023-01-31


In the prospected research project the effects of various realistic noise scenarios on reading performance, well-being and another cognitive task will be investigated, for moderate sound pressure levels that are no threat for hearing. Reading performance was chosen as one relevant task for the work place, since it is a common task in many occupational settings to gather information (like specific duties, messages, or instructions) from written material, i.e., by reading.

At first, based on the results from a pilot study, a self-developed proofreading task will be optimised and extended. The modified test versions will then be used during an initial experimental investigation to analyse the two existing versions with respect to equivalence and possible training effects, when the test is used twice in succession. In a second study, the effect of in total four different background sounds on the performance in the proofreading task as well as one additional cognitive task will be examined. Moreover, several subjective ratings like, e.g., the experienced effort during the tasks, will be collected. The experimental sound conditions will be selected resp. generated with the goal to reflect realistic noise environments that are typical for the work place. This should allow for conclusions about possible detrimental effects of noise on reading, especially for the occupational context.


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