Frequency-dependence of Psychophysical and Physiological Responses to Hand-transmitted Vibration

Michael J. GRIFFIN
2012 Industrial Health  
This invited paper reviews experimental studies of the frequency-dependence of absolute thresholds for the perception of vibration, equivalent comfort contours, temporary changes in sensation caused by vibration, and reductions in finger blood flow caused by hand-transmitted vibration. Absolute thresholds depend on the contact conditions but for a typical hand grip the thresholds show greatest sensitivity to acceleration around 125 Hz. The frequency-dependence of discomfort caused by
more » ... itted vibration depends on vibration magnitude: similar to absolute thresholds at low magnitudes, but the discomfort at higher magnitudes is similar when the vibration velocity is similar (at frequencies between about 16 and 400 Hz). Hand-transmitted vibration induces temporary elevations in vibrotactile thresholds that reflect the sensory mechanisms excited by the vibration and are therefore highly dependent on the frequency of vibration. Handtransmitted vibration reduces finger blood flow during and after exposure; when the vibration velocity is similar at all frequencies there is more vasoconstriction at frequencies greater than 63 Hz than at lower frequencies. A single frequency weighting cannot provide a good indication of how all effects of hand-transmitted vibration depend on vibration frequency. Furthermore, a single frequency weighting provides only an approximate indication of any single response, because many factors influence the frequency-dependence of responses to hand-transmitted vibration, including the magnitude of vibration, contact conditions, and individual differences. Although the frequency weighting in current standards extends from 8 to 1,000 Hz, frequencies greater than 400 Hz rarely increase the weighted value on tools and there is currently little psychophysical or physiological evidence of their effects.
doi:10.2486/indhealth.ms1379 pmid:23060249 fatcat:nwfoofqppjbnpghou2zzkwbusi