Low-Frequency Noise Annoyance


Low-frequency noise, in the frequency range from about 10Hz to 200Hz, has been recognised as a special environmental noise problem, particularly for some sensitive people in their homes. Listen to Teli Chinelis give an overview of the problem and how complaints should be taken seriously.

Approximately 2.5% of the population are estimated to have a low-frequency threshold at least 12 dB more sensitive than the average, corresponding to nearly 1,000,000 persons in the 50–59-year-old age group in the 15 EU Countrywide region.

DEFRA advises that a review in 1989 suggested that local authorities in the UK might receive over 500 complaints of low-frequency noise a year for which nearly 90% of the complaint noises were identified.

Work in 2004 on a small sample of complaints, indicates that only about a third of complaints are resolved by technical means, whilst the sources of the remainder cannot be found, the noise cannot be measured, or measurements of noise do not correlate with the complainant’s perception of it.

According to DEFRA, low-frequency noise causes severe problems for the small number of people who are sensitive to its effects. Complainants tend to be middle-aged and older, although a small number of younger people may be affected.

Because of the difficulties in assessment and control, of the quality of life for some, mainly older, people in the community are affected by their perception of low-frequency noise. Their complaints must be taken seriously and the demand for resources will intensify as the population ages.

Locating and controlling the source of the noise ought to be the priority, but this is not always possible. In a lot of these cases, complainants are left to endure the problem, continuing to suffer without further complaint to the authorities. A very small number of complainants are known to have improved their situation by changing and controlling their attitude to the noise, through a form of self-help.

If you want to know more about low-frequency noise, please contact [email protected] or on 01530 412777.

As always, if you have any issues associated with noise or vibration please contact the relevant experts at Finch Consulting.

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