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Effect of noise tolerance on non-restorative sleep: a population-based study in Hong Kong

12 Mar 2018


The aim of this study was to assess the impact of auditory noise tolerance on non-restorative sleep using an objective audiometric test in a representative sample.


A total of 202 Chinese individuals aged 15 years and above were recruited from a population-based household survey. Their non-restorative sleep was assessed by a single item, the degree of feeling refreshed on waking up, on a 0–10 scale, while noise tolerance was measured by the most comfortable level expressed in A-weighted decibels.


The 202 individuals (106 women) had a mean degree of feeling refreshed on waking up of 6.5 on the 0–10 scale and a mean maximum comfortable sound level of 69.2 dB. A multivariable analysis showed that a 1 dB increase in noise tolerance was associated with a 0.1-unit increase in the degree of feeling refreshed after adjusting for age, education, marital status, occupation, exercise, smoking, alcohol consumption, household noise level, stress, anxiety and depression. Moreover, housewives, non-smokers and individuals who were less anxious or stressed felt significantly more refreshed on waking up.


People with higher levels of noise tolerance experienced more refreshing sleep. Additional clinical consideration of enhancing noise tolerance in patients with sleep complaints is needed.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open

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