Vibroacoustic Disease Is More Than Just a Hearing Problem

Unnecessary exposure to high volumes may be damaging to your hearing and even physical parts of your ear, but some frequencies can actually damage the cells of the body in some patients. These patients suffer from Vibroacoustic Disease (VAD), a whole-body, systemic pathology with symptoms brought on by excessive exposure to low-frequency noise (LFN). Unfortunately, VAD is much more than just a hearing problem, as depression, social isolation, cognitive decline, and increased aggression are all part of the clinical picture. Hi-intensity low-frequency sounds can be severely damaging to the body as a whole, not only affecting your hearing but may also impact the status and functions of the muscular, neurological, and cardiovascular system. Even with severe risks such as these, the seriousness of low-frequency exposure and VAD is still underappreciated, prompting the need for increased awareness and diagnosis for those struggling.

What Is VAD?

Observed in LFN-exposed professionals such as disk jockeys, military pilots, aircraft technicians, ship machinists and more, Vibroacoustic Disease is a whole-body, occupational, and disabling pathology, often undiagnosed in the vast majority of cases. Information on VAD is still lacking, as research into the condition has continued since 1987 when the first autopsy of a VAD patient was conducted. A 1992 study conducted had found that excessive exposure to LFN had caused a thickening of cardiovascular structures, with a 2004 paper written by the Center for Human Performance in Portgual concluding, “pericardial thickening with no inflammatory process, and in the absence of diastolic dysfunction, is a hallmark of VAD.” As LFN is a demonstrated genotoxic agent, there are mutagenic outcomes associated with the disease, such as changes in the extracellular matrix of body tissue that aids in wound healing and the physical maintenance of cells. In short, exposure to hi-intensity low-frequency noise may result in Vibroacoustic disease, capable of changing the cellular structure of your body and causing life-long neurological, emotional, and cardiovascular complications.

How LFN Is Still Affecting The Population

Low-frequency noise is still a major issue in the workplace, as research indicates that the number of workers exposed may be significant without them even knowing. Without knowledge of the early symptoms, it is hard for patients to recognize VAD before it is too late, and with information regarding VAD not yet reaching mainstream general physicians, the responsibility of raising awareness and protection of personnel has shifted onto the medical community and employers. VAD “can never be fully recognized as an occupational and environmental pathology,” explains Mariana Alves-Pereira, Professor of Environmental Science at Lusofona University in Portugal, “The worldwide suffering of LFN-exposed individuals is staggering and it is unethical to maintain this status quo.”

Unfortunately, a lack of established legislation regarding noise assessments and proper evaluation of LFN is a major hindrance towards scientific advancement when it comes to researching VAD with disastrous consequences. Not only can VAD affect the hearing of those diagnosed, but it may result in many life-altering conditions, disabling their ability to live a happy and healthy life.

With so many cases going unrecognized, if you believe you are suffering from Vibroacoustic disease, it is important to reach out to a hearing health professional to learn about your options.2019-12-19 16:41:14