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Noise Health. 2014 Jan-Feb;16(68):10-7. doi: 10.4103/1463-1741.127848.

The assessment and evaluation of low-frequency noise near the region of infrasound.

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Department of Applied Mechanics and Mechatronics, Slovak University of Technology Nam. Slobody 17, Bratislava, Slovakia.


The main aim of this paper is to present recent knowledge about the assessment and evaluation of low-frequency sounds (noise) and infrasound, close to the threshold of hearing, and identify their potential effect on human health and annoyance. Low-frequency noise generated by air flowing over a moving car with an open window was chosen as a typical scenario which can be subjectively assessed by people traveling by automobile. The principle of noise generated within the interior of the car and its effects on the comfort of the driver and passengers are analyzed at different velocities. An open window of a car at high velocity behaves as a source of specifically strong tonal low-frequency noise which is generally perceived as annoying. The interior noise generated by an open window of a passenger car was measured under different conditions: Driving on a highway and driving on a typical roadway. First, an octave-band analysis was used to assess the noise level and its impact on the driver's comfort. Second, a fast Fourier transform (FFT) analysis and one-third octave-band analysis were used for the detection of tonal low-frequency noise. Comparison between two different car makers was also done. Finally, the paper suggests some possibilities for scientifically assessing and evaluating low-frequency sounds in general, and some recommendations are introduced for scientific discussion, since sounds with strong low-frequency content (but not only strong) engender greater annoyance than is predicted by an A-weighted sound pressure level.

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