BACKGROUND: The visual, vestibular, and somatosensory-proprioceptive systems are responsible for afferent information to maintain postural stability. Postural stability can be impacted by sounds that cause disturbances and perturbations to the vestibular (inner ear organ responses) and the visual (acute oculomotor responses) systems. The purpose of the study was to assess the impact of different types of sounds and noises on both static and dynamic postural stability. METHODS: A total of 20 participants (12 females & 8 males; age: 21.35±1.79 years; height: 170.7±9.3 cm; mass: 66.725±14.1 kg) were tested using the Limits of Stability (LOS) on the BTrackS™ balance plate and a Timed-Up-and-Go (TUG) tests, when exposed to four different sounds and occupational noises in a randomized order with a no sounds (NS) control performed initially [construction noise (CN), white noise (WN); sirens (SR), and nature sounds (NA)]. The sounds and noises were delivered through an over-the-ear Bluetooth headphones with an intensity range of 70-80 dB and had 5 minutes of rest in between each sound/noise condition. Center of pressure (COP) total sway area (cm2) from the LOS and time to completion of TUG (seconds) were analyzed using a one-way repeated measures of analysis of variance at an alpha level of 0.05. RESULTS: Significant differences between the sounds and noises was observed for TUG [F (4,76)=9.683, p<0.001; ƞp2=0.338] but not for LOS [F (4,76)=1.013, p=0.406; ƞp2=0.051]. Pairwise comparisons for significant main effect for TUG revealed that NS demonstrated significantly slower time to completion compared to CN, WN, SR, but not NA. CONCLUSIONS: Findings suggest that the different sounds and noises did not impact static postural stability during LOS that involved voluntary excursion of COP, while maintaining the same base of support (BOS). However, during dynamic postural stability with changing BOS during TUG walking, exposure to noises of CN, SR, and WN, demonstrated a faster time to completion, compared to no sounds or nature sounds. This may be attributed to anxiety induced by the noise immersion and perception of sounds, compared to calm nature sounds, and no sounds. Findings can aid in better understanding the impact of different occupational noises on postural stability and emphasize the need for better noise protection and reduction in loud work environments.

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