Determinants of annoyance from humming sound as indicator of low frequency noise.
The level of concern and health complaints related to low frequency noise (LFN) seems to be increasing, not only in the Netherlands, but also at international level. There is evidence suggesting an association between LFN and symptomatic effects such as annoyance and sleep disturbances. A systematic evaluation of the literature which we recently performed, focusing on epidemiological studies on residential sources of LFN in relation to various symptoms and well-being indicators confirms these findings. However, it is still hard to make a valid estimate of the burden of disease due to LFN. Therefore, based on several Dutch datasets we estimated the prevalence of health complaints due to low frequency noise or attributed to it. The available data only concerned perceived exposure rather than actual measurements of LFN, preventing to link the exposures to these effects. It was concluded that the number of complaints and the percentage highly annoyed has increased. Large differences were found between cities, regions and in particular neighbourhoods. This paper explored the relation between contextual, situational and personal features with the level of annoyance due to low frequency sounds, based on secondary analysis of existing data.