The Sound Level At Your Workplace May Be Impacting Your Physiological Well-Being, New Research Found

Flamingo Images - - illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

Do you prefer to work in populated spaces, like libraries or coffee shops? Or do you focus better in an isolated environment?

Either way, your preference may be tied to noise levels and how different sounds impact your productivity.

“It is a really complex relationship when you think about how sound affects people. Some of us like quiet environments; some of us like noisy environments,” said Karthik Srinivasan, an assistant business analytics professor at the University of Kansas.

While scientists have a decent understanding of this phenomenon from a psychological perspective, though, the physiological effects of long-term sound-level exposure are under-studied.

This reality is what inspired Srinivasan to conduct a new study that was recently published in NPJ Digital Medicine.

For the research, 231 federal office employees were recruited. Each study participant wore various devices– either strapped onto their chest or around their neck– that analyzed how noises within an indoor setting impacted individual well-being.

This analysis revealed that optimal physiological well-being is achieved when workplace sound levels are about 50 A-weighed decibels (dBA). For reference, a standard refrigerator emits sound that is 50 dBA.

It was also found that at lower and higher sound ranges, a 10 dBA sound level increase was related to a 5.4% increase and a 1.9% decrease in physiological well-being, respectively.

Among the employee participants, age, high blood pressure, anxiety, body mass index (BMI), and computer-intensive work were also factors that contributed to distinct variations in the results.

Flamingo Images – – illustrative purposes only, not the actual person

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