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Noise Resources - Types of Noise

All noise is not created equal - nor is it perceived in the same way.  There are many different types of noise, and depending on the circumstances and upon the person, some noises are far more annoying than others.

This is important, because the typical method of measuring noise (i.e., assessing the dBA) may not reflect all of the problematic components of the noise.  In fact, it is widely acknowledged that noise measurements based on the A-weighted frequencies (dBA or LAeq) do not adequately characterize most noise environments and do not adequately assess the health impacts of noise on human well-being. (Berglund et al., 1999)

Certain noise characteristics can greatly increase the annoyance factor and the health impacts associated with noise.  These factors include:

  • the presence of tones (tonal noise)
  • the presence of low frequency noise
  • fluctuating, intermittent or periodic sounds; and
  • impulsive sounds.

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