Testing Noise in the Field: A Brief Measure of Individual Noise Sensitivity

Jacob A. Benfield, Gretchen A. Nurse, Robert Jakubowski, Adam W. Gibson, B. Derrick Taff, Peter Newman, Paul A. Bell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Noise, or unwanted sound, exposure has been shown to have a wide range of negative physical and psychological effects. Although situational context, sound characteristics, and individual expectation affect the experience of noise and its related outcomes, the personality trait of noise sensitivity also plays a critical role in assessing noise impacts. As the most widely used 21-item Noise Sensitivity Scale measure of sensitivity is often too long to administer in time-sensitive field settings, the authors conducted five studies to create and validate a shortened, field friendly version of the original, longer measure of noise sensitivity. The resulting five-item measure of noise sensitivity was shown to be internally consistent, temporally stable, highly correlated with the original measure, and predictive of noise-related outcomes such as attitudes toward specific noise, acceptability ratings of noise events, and motivations for visiting quiet locations. The applied value of the scale and implications for facilitating future research are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)353-372
Number of pages20
JournalEnvironment and Behavior
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2014

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Science(all)


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