This feasibility study evaluated the state of knowledge about the effects of infrasound on human beings, the identification of infrasound sources and the potential concerns in Germany due to infrasound. Furthermore, a study design was developed for a noise impact study concerning infrasound immissions. Based on these findings, recommendations for the further development of regulations on immission control were made. The study led to the following conclusions:
- The literature review does not present a coherent picture about the determination and assessment of low frequency sounds. Especially in Germany, there are just a few studies that deal with infrasound. A database was created for further research projects.
- Survey tools that allow for an initial acoustic description and classification were developed for the acoustic identification and assessment of potential infrasound sources.
- The surveys of the immission control authorities of the Länder (German states) and the evaluation of Internet communication on infrasound show a somewhat higher level of noise pollution in Southern Germany. Above all, noise pollution from air-conditioning systems and biogas facilities were mentioned. In the official practice, the Technical Instructions on Noise Abatement and DIN 45680 generally apply in cases of conflicts concerning infrasound.
- A study design was developed for an interdisciplinary field study and the essential survey contents and sources were defined.
- The DIN 45680 Measurement and Assessment of Low Frequency Noise Immissions in the Neighbourhood can be used for the assessment of low frequency noise (<100 Hz). The international standard ISO 7196 Acoustics – Frequency-Weighting Characteristic for Infrasound Measurements was especially created for the measurement of infrasound immissions (<20 Hz). The research findings indicate that these standards have deficits with regards to the assessment of infrasound and should be further developed. The current revision of DIN 45680 shows a path for how inconsistencies in the area of low frequency sounds can be rectified.
—June 2014, Umweltbundesamt (Federal Environmental Agency, Germany)
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