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Effects of aircraft cabin noise on passenger comfort

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The effects of cabin noise on subjective comfort assessments were systematically investigated in order to reveal optimisation potentials for an improved passenger noise acceptance. Two aircraft simulation studies were conducted. An acoustic laboratory test facility provided with loudspeaker systems for realistic sound presentations and an aircraft cabin simulator (Dornier Do 728) with a high degree of ecological validity were used. Subjects were exposed to nine different noise patterns (three noise levels ranging from 66 to 78 dB(A) combined with three different frequency spectra). Regression analysis demonstrated a significant increase of passengers' acceptance with lower noise levels and significant effects of different frequency spectra determined by seat position in the aircraft cabin (front, middle, rear). Acoustic cabin design should therefore consider measures beyond noise level reduction altering noise characteristics to improve passengers' comfort and well-being in the aircraft cabin.

Practitioner Summary: To improve passenger comfort in the aircraft with respect to cabin noise, passengers' reactions to specific noise conditions were systematically investigated. Two laboratory studies showed significant dose-response relationships between sound pressure level and subjective comfort ratings which differed due to the noise at specific seat positions in the aircraft.
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Keywords: aircraft cabin noise; comfort; frequency spectrum; sound pressure level; well-being

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Aerospace Medicine, Cologne,51170, Germany

Publication date: October 1, 2012

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