Low-Frequency Noise: Experiences from a Low-Frequency Noise Perceiving Population

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Although low-frequency noise (LFN) is associated with various complaints, there is still much unknown about this phenomenon. This research aims to provide an extensive description of (1) LFN perceptions, (2) LFN-related complaints, and (3) the characteristics of LFN complainants. In an explorative observational cross-sectional survey study, a sample of Dutch adults reporting to experience LFN (n = 190) and a group not experiencing LFN (n = 371) completed a comprehensive questionnaire. Descriptions of LFN perceptions varied individually and were dependent on different circumstances, although some common patterns were observed. Complaints were wide-ranging and individual, with a reported high impact on daily living. Common complaints included sleeping difficulties, fatigue, or annoyance. Societal consequences were described regarding housing, work, and relationships. Attempts to stop or escape the perception were manifold but often unsuccessful. The LFN sample differed regarding sex, education level, and age from the Dutch adult population, indicating more frequent inability to work, less full-time work, and less years lived in their homes. No further differences in occupational or marital status or living circumstances were found. Although this research supports some previous findings and identifies common patterns, it also highlights the individual nature of LFN-related experiences and the heterogeneity of this group. It is advised to pay attention to the complaints of affected individuals, to inform concerned authorities, and to conduct more systematic and multidisciplinary research using standardized and validated measuring instruments.

Original languageEnglish
Article number3916
Number of pages28
JournalInternational Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 22-Feb-2023


  • Adult
  • Humans
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Noise
  • Hearing
  • Employment


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