Noise Sensitivity and Diminished Health: Testing Moderators and Mediators of the Relationship
The concept of noise sensitivity emerged in public health and psychoacoustic research to help explain individual differences in reactions to noise. Noise sensitivity has been associated with health problems, but the mechanisms underlying this relationship have yet to be fully examined. Participants (n = 1102) were residents of Auckland, New Zealand, who completed questionnaires and returned them through the post. Models of noise sensitivity and health were tested in the analyses using bootstrapping methods to examine indirect effects. Results indicated that gender and noise exposure were not significant moderators in the model. Perceived stress and sleep problems were significant mediators of the relationship between noise sensitivity and subjective health complaints, even after controlling for the influence of neuroticism. However, the relationship between noise sensitivity and mental health complaints (anxiety and depression) was accounted for by the variance explained by neuroticism. Overall, this study provides considerable understanding of the relationship between noise sensitivity and health problems and identifies areas for further research in the field.