Effects of Sound on Postural Stability during Quiet Standing

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Loss of postural stability can increase the likelihood of slips and falls in workplaces. The present study intended to extend understanding of the effects of frequency and pressure level of sound on postural stability during standing. Eleven male subjects participated. Standing on a force platform, the subjects' center of pressures were measured under different combinations of pressure level and frequency of the sound. Variables such as the position variability of COP and the length of postural sway path in anterior-posterior (AP) and medio-lateral (ML) direction were evaluated. Subjective ratings of perceived disturbance at each experimental condition were also obtained using a 7-point rating scale. Results showed that the length of sway path and the position variability of COP increased as the frequency of sound increased in posterior-anterior axis. The effect of sound pressure level, however, was not significant on both the postural sway length and the position variability of COP. These results suggested substantial disturbance of standing balance system among subjects exposed to high frequency noise. The results implied that physical workers should be alerted that their abilities of postural balance could be degraded significantly as disturbance caused by a sound existed.




Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation. 2011 Dec 15;8(1):67