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Low frequency noise legislation

Paper accepted for Inter-noise 2007, 28-31 August, Istanbul, Turkey

Abstract: Legislation regarding low frequency noise (LFN, <500 Hz including infrasound), when existent, is highly deficient. Not only is it expressed in dBA, actually defeating the purpose of evaluating LFN, but no concrete measures are prescribed if excessive LFN is identified. The status quo notion that acoustical phenomena are only harmful when perceived by humans cannot be sustained given current scientific facts. The purpose of this report is to demonstrate just how inadequate legislation is regarding LFN control, and how ubiquitous LFN is in locations common to the general public. Methods. Noise assessments were conducted in homes, clubs, public transportation and common automobiles, in 1/3 octave bands and with a lower limiting frequency of 6.3 Hz, measured in dBLin. Overall average noise levels are reported in both dBA and dBLin. Results. Comparative frequency analysis among acoustic environments that possess the same dBA levels show that it is not scientifically valid to presume the existence of comparable acoustic environments merely based on a dBA level, i.e., equal dBA levels does not mean equal acoustic environments. Neither the dBA nor the dBLin parameter adequately reflect the presence of LFN components. Discussion. LFN is ubiquitous in modern society, and yet it is not adequately legislated. Noise-related studies do not take LFN in account and thus yield results that are deemed controversial, contradictory, and inconclusive. No effort is made to control LFN in the homes, nor in other locations of common use to the general public. The implications of ignoring LFN as an agent of disease for the public health is detrimental to us all as a human society, and a nightmare for future generations.

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