Biological effects of essentially airborne infrasound
High infrasound levels can appear on work places, emitted from technical sources like compressor stations, air-conditioning equipment, mine hoists or pumps. Therefore, the question arises whether there is a possible health impairment by occupational exposure to infrasound. The human ear may perceive auditory sensations from about 2 Hz. In laboratory experiments a temporary threshold shift could be demonstrated, if the sound pressure level exceeded the hearing level extensively. Pressure in the ear was reported during exposure in the range of the hearing level. Long-term infrasound exposure in combination with normal industrial noise could result in accelerated and increased development of hearing loss. Regarding non auditory effects the animal experiments point to the fact that the reactions of the organism extend from unspecific reactions of activation and stress to chronic pathologic changes. In laboratory experiments on volunteers the know non auditory effects have been seen if the sound pressure level reach the hearing level. Infrasound seems to cause fatigue, decrease of concentration, and impairment of performance. Moreover, subjective symptoms such as dizziness and balance disturbance were reported. This symptoms probably adapt during long-term exposure. A possible specific influence of infrasound affect the vestibular system. Further studies are necessary to clarify the mechanism of action and to quantify possible health impairments by long-term exposure to essentially airborne infra-sound. The first part of the presented literature documentation contains a detailed assessment of the publications with respect to procedures and results. The second part covers the 98 reviewed publications and their respective summaries.
Biological effects of essentially airborne infrasound.
1st. edition. Bremerhaven: Wirtschaftsverlag NW Verlag für neue Wissenschaft GmbH 1997.
(Schriftenreihe der Bundesanstalt für Arbeitsschutz und Arbeitsmedizin: Literaturdokumentation, Ld 7)
ISBN: 3-89429-839-1, 76 pages, Papier
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