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Posted by ccf neuro M.D.* on August 29, 1997 at 17:43:19:
In Reply to: Injured by ultrasonic noise? posted by Jamie Simm on August 27, 1997 at 11:42:02:
I have recently discovered I have been getting exposed to high-frequency noise, which extends beyond the upper range of hearing. The exposure has been chronic:
it emanates from something within my car's electronic control systems.
I first discovered it as I experienced tinnitus which I came to associate with driving my car. Then my kids ears were hurting, and finally I wore earplugs and would
not let the kids ride in the car. (The car is brand new, the dealership and manufacturer are clueless and think I'm crazy).
I have recorded the noise up to 22 kHz, and spectral analysis shows it is quite obviously increasing in intensity as the frequency rises, but I haven't yet measured
beyond the audible range (20 Hz - 22 kHz).
At first, I was also experiencing sore knuckles, which I thoght might be due to golf, but I haven't touched a golf club in weeks, and it has gotten worse, as the
problem with the car gets worse. I have had numbness and tingling in my right hand, which extended from the base of my skull out to my fingertips when it was worst (I'd been in the car more than 2 hours), and is now just
in my right hand and sometimes my arm.
I can't stand any high-frequency noise or vibration at all, now. Keys on a key-ring, coins in my pocket, pulling on a zipper with my right hand, touching tools to metal objects, even the rebound of the keys of my keyboard, all are felt intensely,
mostly if my right hand is touching, but also via sound transmission and my left hand can be sensitive. this has been going on since mid-May.
Yesterday, the noise was so intense that I actually felt heat in my shoulder, in my knuckles, in my ankles; I also felt a tightening in my chest, and by the time I got
home, my heartbeat was strong and a little irregular (I'm quite fit, usually pulse = 50 - 60, BP = 115/75). I could also feel a "popping" if I flexed my neck (which i did because it felt very tight).
Today, my knuckles ache and burn, and the "zinging" at the base of my skull is tortuous. I have seen a Dr., and have an appt. with a neurologist for EMG and consult. I have a sinking feeling that nothing will be found.
My question is: does anyone know where I can find data on health effects of exposure to high-intensity, high-frequency noise?
Needless to say, I have stopped driving the car, and will dump it (at a substantial financial loss, but I have no choice). That's another issue, I am concerned about my health, right now.
Thanks for any help anyone can offer. Please email me at ***@**** or phone me 905-470-2545 ext. 266 and I will call you right back to minimize LD
High frequency hearing loss is a well known complication of chronic exposure to prolonged loud noise, such as is seen in certain factory workers. There is no nonpsychiatric illness that I am aware of that could cause all of the symptoms you describe, although many of your specific symptoms are highly compatable with certain well recognized anxiety disorders, which may present only with bodily, physical symptoms. You may wish to consider seeing an ENT doctor (an otologist, specifically, if available) to see if you have any objective evidence of hearing loss, or hearing hypersensitivity (known medically as hyperacusis). If so, it would be worth pursuing a medical cause of your symptoms, which may only be coincidentally related to your new car. Occupational or environmental health journals might be a good place to look for articles that might relate to the effect of exposure to high frequency and/or ultrasonic noise. Good Luck!
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