Last update: May 22, 2017

Mu He - Detlef Krahé July 2015 Germany

EEG reaction under low frequency noise exposure

“It was demonstrated that EEG was effective for objective evaluation as a physiological index and could be an explanation for low frequency noise sufferers.”

Prof. Dr. Detlef Krahé
Prof. Dr. Detlef Krahé Photo: Spiegel TV

Mu He*, Detlef Krahé
* Presenter of the paper

Department of Electrical, Information and Media Engineering, University of Wuppertal, Germany.

EEG reactions under different low frequency noise exposures are introduced in this paper, which include the comparison of low frequency noise and pink noise, low frequency noise combined with different bandwidths pink noise and low frequency noise with additional visual stimuli. The power spectral density (PSD) variation of Alpha and Beta band at the temporal lobe and frontal lobe of the cerebral cortex were found significant relationship with the subjective annoyance evaluation result. Noise sensitivity was found as an important factor in most of the observations. It was demonstrated that EEG was effective for objective evaluation as a physiological index and could be an explanation for low frequency noise sufferers.


Low frequency noise (LFN) is a common source of annoyance at home and in the work environment. It can involve an exceptional annoyance or stress for the sufferers, even with just exceeded level above hearing threshold [1]. The exact reason why some people have serious problems with LFN is unknown, and a lot of studies related with LFN were done with questionnaire surveys, listening tests, psychological experiments as the dominant methods [2]. The subjective annoyance caused by noise was found related to people’s cognition, experiences and emotional states [3]. Due to the limitation of psychological experiments, the investigations of physiological effects of noise on auditory systems and the neuroendocrine system have been studied to explore the relationship between subjective annoyance and physiological parameters. Earlier research results of human brain physiology showed that brain activities could occur with external stimulation simultaneously [4]. The concept was proven that people generate stress response and their dynamic EEG may change when they exposed to noise. The sum of the relative power spectrum density of Theta and Alpha waves were found increased with the subjective annoyance increasing [5]. The purpose of this paper is to summarize the primary observation of EEG reactions under different LFN exposure situations. The aim was to find out the correlation between the PSD changes of EEG bands and the subjective assessment result, particularly in which function area of the brain and which EEG band. Additionally, the discussions about the effect of different psychological questionnaires on the perception of LFN and the EEG changes were also collected. Another aim was to demonstrate that the EEG can be an effective tool to use as a physiological index for the objective evaluation related with LFN, and can be used for the further study for LFN sufferers.

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