Aircraft noise complaints lodged with airports are regarded for U.S. federal policy purposes as unreliable and uninterpretable indications of noise impacts on airport-area communities. Small numbers of complainants are typically responsible for large numbers of complaints; the bulk
of complaints are generally lodged from areas with noise exposure levels which do not meet the federal definition of “incompatible” land use; and federal noise regulatory policy is in any event based on an attitude (annoyance), not on complaint behavior. Recent analyses, however,
have demonstrated that predictions of annoyance prevalence rates in airport communities are considerably improved when non-dose related factors, potentially including complaints, are taken into systematic consideration. To the extent that complaints, which are weakly related at best to cumulative
noise exposure levels, can be used as an index of non-dose related attitudes toward airport and aircraft noise, they may help to reduce the uncertainty of predictions of annoyance prevalence rates.
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