Appl Ergon. 2022 Sep;103:103772. doi: 10.1016/j.apergo.2022.103772. Epub 2022 Apr 29.
This study examined associations between metrics of noise exposure and mental workload. In this cross-sectional study, five occupational noise metrics computed from full-shift dosimetry were evaluated among surface mine workers in the US Midwest. Mental workload was evaluated using a modified, raw NASA-TLX and clustered with a k-means clustering algorithm. Mixed effects logistic regression and Bayesian Kernel Machine Regression (BKMR) was utilized for analysis. Average noise exposure, the difference between peak and mean noise exposure, and the number of peaks >135 dB were each strongly associated with mental workload, while the kurtosis and standard deviation of noise throughout a shift were not. An exposure-response relationship between average noise exposure and mental workload may exist, with elevated risk of high mental workload beginning at 80 dBA. These results suggest that high noise exposure may be an independent risk factor of high mental workload, and impulse events and the difference between the peak and mean noise exposure may have interactive effects with average noise exposure.