Annoyance Examinations

What is going on

All WP2 tasks have been completed according to plan.

Results achieved so far

Laboratory studies

June 2012

The laboratory studies are required for the evaluation of optimised/improved future airport noise scenarios vs. current airport noise scenarios as they allow the variation of the acoustic stimuli while keeping constant other environmental factors. The future aircraft sounds will be provided by WP3 and the future airport noise scenarios by WP5. Participants will be exposed to air traffic sounds reproducing different sound situations. During this time, participants have to perform various "like at home" activities (e.g. reading a newspapers, listening to the radio, having lunch, watching TV, phoning, discussing, resting).

Telephone and Field studies

April 2012

The telephone and field studies shall provide the status of annoyance of current airport scenarios and the determination of its causality. The studies are performed at the following airports:

  • London Heathrow LON (largest European airport)
  • Cologne/Bonn CGN (high amount of night time traffic)
  • Arlanda Airport, Stockholm ARN (important airport of a Nordic country)

More than 1200 telephone interviews are made around each airport, being followed by a four-day field study of annoyance examinations at 50 different residents' homes. In this one-year lasting field study the sound pressure level is measured continuously at each resident's home.


November 2011

For synthesizing these future aircraft sounds for the laboratory examinations WP3 requires from other WPs, amongst other information, specifications for how the sound quality of future aircraft sounds can most likely be optimized. WP2 will carry out interactive listening examinations using the Sound Synthesis Machine in order to evaluate future technologies by facilitating the study of separate components within the overall sound field. With this machine, subjects will be able to control selected aircraft noise features (e.g. tonal components) within defined technical constraints and with the overall loudness being held constant. The objective is to produce subjectively optimised target sounds from the range of technical possibilities defined by other WPs.


There have been many aircraft noise annoyance studies carried out in the past, but this new COSMA study is required because of new developments which have not previously been addressed:

  • Aircraft have been getting quieter, while the number of aircraft noise events has been increasing. The pattern of aircraft noise exposure around most airports is now significantly different from 20-30 years ago when the majority of previous studies were carried out.
  • The character of sound produced by modern aircraft types has also changed significantly from the character of sound produced by older aircraft types from 20-30 years ago.
  • This means that previous research requires updating before it can be used as a basis for predicting annoyance around airports in the future.
  • Technology now exists for producing realistic simulations of future aircraft sounds that can be used in laboratory examinations
  • Only around one third of the variance in annoyance judgements can be explained by commonly applied acoustical measures, but it is expected that a higher proportion of the variance could be explained by also taking into account additional moderator variables as e.g. negative expectations of the future noise development at the airport, consideration of residents' interests in decision making processes, fear of aircraft crashes, current media coverage about aviation, age, gender, etc.


The main objectives of WP2 are the collection and analysis of current annoyance data around three major European airports and the prognosis of the annoyance development in the future by means of laboratory studies.

These new data will support further development of dose-response relationships and contribute as a main first dataset to the development of the Virtual Resident tool by WP4. The overall aim is to help authorities to devise noise management strategies that will minimize aircraft noise annoyance around airports in the most cost-effective ways.

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