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Noise in the workplace

Dear Dan and Al:

The WHO report, Guidelines for Community Noise, can be found at:


The report is more appropriate for your purpose (protecting the
tranquility of  the workplace) than the OSHA Program for Hearing
Conservation, for instance, or other standards that stem solely from
health considerations. Basically, the levels of exposure that impair
the auditory system are far higher than the levels that simply impair

performance in the workplace, and you will want to impose the latter
standard rather than the former. The WHO standard for an office,
which derives from measures of the intelligibility of speech in
noise, places the tolerable noise in the range of 35-45 dB.

By the way, I also measured the background level in the main control
room of the lab (42 dB, A scale) and in my office (two windows, on a
busy corner of Broadway = 42 dB, A scale).

I would be eager to know the norms if there is research on this topic.

Good luck,

        Robert Remez

        Robert E. Remez, Chair          212.854.4247 office
        Department of Psychology                212.854.3601 fax
        Barnard College                 212.854-2069 Department
        3009 Broadway
        New York, New York 10027
        Email: remez@columbia.edu
        Home Page: www.columbia.edu/~remez