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Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2007 Jan-Apr;93(1-3):130-7. Epub 2006 Aug 4.

What is infrasound?

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Definitions of infrasound and low-frequency noise are discussed and the fuzzy boundary between them described. Infrasound, in its popular definition as sound below a frequency of 20 Hz, is clearly audible, the hearing threshold having been measured down to 1.5 Hz. The popular concept that sound below 20 Hz is inaudible is not correct. Sources of infrasound are in the range from very low-frequency atmospheric fluctuations up into the lower audio frequencies. These sources include natural occurrences, industrial installations, low-speed machinery, etc. Investigations of complaints of low-frequency noise often fail to measure any significant noise. This has led some complainants to conjecture that their perception arises from non-acoustic sources, such as electromagnetic radiation. Over the past 40 years, infrasound and low-frequency noise have attracted a great deal of adverse publicity on their effects on health, based mainly on media exaggerations and misunderstandings. A result of this has been that the public takes a one-dimensional view of infrasound, concerned only by its presence, whilst ignoring its low levels.

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