Background and activities

My background is cochlear physiology, specialising in biophysical (otoacoustic emissions, evoked potentials) and psychophysical (tinnitus matching, hearing thresholds)  measures of the mammalian inner ear.

Concerns over sound emitted from technical sources such as wind turbines in the low–frequency- (between about 20 and 250 Hz) and infrasound range (below 20 Hz) have been mounting over the last decade.

Human exposure to infrasound has been implicated in triggering several vague and occasionally debilitating symptoms, such as vertigo, anxiety, sleep disorders, or cardiac arrhythmia. Since emitted sound levels were occasionally found to be below hearing thresholds in the homes of complainants, it has been speculated that these emissions nevertheless can induce adverse effects on human health. This implies the processing of other sensory systems with presumably lower thresholds than the auditory system. For a thorough risk assessment of low-frequency- and infrasound emissions a better understanding of the nature of the sensory systems involved in the processing is required.

I am interested in how the inner ear processses low-frequency and infrasound and why it causes annoyance in a substantial proportion of the general population.