Measurement, assessment and modeling of loudness of kindergarten noise
In many studies conducted to monitor the health situation of kindergarten employees in Germany, the high noise level in the facilities has been pointed out by the employees as one of the most stressful factors. It is also considered as one of the main reasons leading to early retirement or work place change. A reliable prediction of the perceived loudness of acoustic scenes and events in kindergarten environments would therefore be a helpful tool for characterizing these working places. This contribution presents results of a series of tests conducted in a real kindergarten. First, the perception of noise during the daily work was assessed by 36 employees using a questionnaire. The data indicate that various factors contribute to noise-related stress and that, despite being loud, some acoustic events are not perceived as annoying but are rather ""wanted noise"". Second, the physical sound levels present in different rooms of the kindergarten were monitored over a period of several weeks indicating strong temporal variations. Third, a psychoacoustical assessment of the loudness of kindergartens noise was conducted using categorical loudness scaling. The results of all three tests are compared and the applicability of different models to predict perceived loudness is discussed.