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J Acoust Soc Am. 1978 Jun;63(6):1912-8.

Visual-field displacements in human beings evoked by accoustical transients.


Sixty-two of 133 subjects reported visual-field displacements when they were exposed to intense (125 dB SPL) repetitive audiofrequency transients. This phenomenon was investigated in three experiments. Frequency (100-5000 Hz) was varied in experiment I; repetition rate (0.5/s--6.0/s) was varied in experiment II; acoustical transient onset/offset time (0.2--25 ms) was examined in experiment III. The results of these three experiments indicated that the largest proportion of displacement reports and the largest perceived motion magnitudes followed stimulation in the 500- to 1000-Hz frequency range at repetition rates of about 1/s. Response differences as a function of onset/offset time were erratic. The pattern of results obtained in this study, in conjunction with the results of previous investigations of acoustical vestibular stimulation, suggests that the visual-field displacments resulted from stimulation of the receptors of the vestibular system. These experiments may account for discrepancies in reports of infrasound-evoked eye movements. Finally, it is suggested that intense sound exposure may damage the vestibular receptors with or without concomitant damage to the auditory portion of the membranous labyrinth.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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