On page 1 of the January 2002 issue of WDDTY (vol 12 no 10), there is a list of causes of heart arrhythmias. I would like to suggest the possibility of there being one more.
For some time, my flat has been subjected to vibrations of very low frequency in the infrasound range, caused by air-conditioning and cooling equipment in the pub next door. An acoustician measured the vibrations to be at 12 hertz (cycles per second).
Occasionally, I am conscious of feeling these vibrations through the chair on which I sit or in my bed at night and, in the autumn of last year, I went through a few weeks of experiencing arrhythmia in bed whenever the vibrations were present and I happened to turn onto my left side.
It never occurred elsewhere and, in fact, my heart rhythm and blood pressure were normal when measured in my GP's consulting room.
Fortunately, the vibrations eventually lessened and my symptoms ceased.
The use of commercial and industrial machinery in residential and semiresidential neighbourhoods is increasing, causing infrasound vibrations in buildings that can sometimes result in resonance, which can be heard as a constant low hum inside the dwellings (but not outside). Both these phenomena must be detrimental to health.
I am on the committee of the UK Noise Association, whose remit includes low-frequency noise, but not the possibly harmful medical effects of exposure to prolonged low-frequency vibration.- Hazel Guest, Cambridge